Jump to:  A   |   B   |   C   |   D   |   E   |   F   |   G   |   H   |   I   |   J   |   K   |   L   |   M   |   N   |   O   |   P   |   Q   |   R   |   S   |   T   |   U   |   V   |   W   |   X   |   Y

Obese Kids More Likely to Have Asthma, With Worse Symptoms

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight and obese kids are more likely to struggle with asthma than kids of normal weight, according to a new review of more than 623,000 children.

Researchers found that children carrying extra weight are between 1.16 to 1.37 times more likely to develop asthma than normal-weight kids, with the risk growing as their body-mass index -- a measure of body fat encompassing height and weight -- increases.

Obese children also experience more frequent and severe episodes of asthma, requiring more medical attention and drug therapy, found the study in the Aug. 7 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

For example, heavier kids required more visits to the doctor to treat their asthma, and needed to use inhalers more often to help restore normal breathing.

Inflammation caused by body fat is suspected to be one factor in the kids' increased risk of asthma, said study lead author Mary Helen Black, of the department of research and evaluation at Kaiser Permanente Southern California.

The extra pounds also might affect the severity of asthma by placing additional weight on a child's chest, Black said.

"Overweight and obese youths have greater perceived symptoms of asthma," she said. "When they have difficulty breathing, it seems more extreme to them than to kids with normal weight." This could be due to the added weight constricting their breathing.

Asthma is the most common chronic childhood illness in the United States, affecting one of every 10 kids, according to study background information.

For the study, the researchers examined electronic health records maintained by Kaiser Permanente for 623,358 children and classified them from normal weight to extremely obese based on their height and weight.

The link between asthma and obesity was particularly pronounced among moderately and extremely obese girls between 6 and 10 years old, who had between 1.36 and 1.56 times higher risk of asthma than normal-weight girls their age.

Moderately and extremely obese Asian-Pacific Islander children also were inordinately affected, running between 1.41 and 1.67 times higher risk of asthma, the investigators found.

The new study confirms a common-sense link between the effects of obesity and the causes of asthma, said Dr. Jacqueline Eghrari-Sabet, an allergy and asthma specialist in Gaithersburg, Md., and a fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. She was not involved with the study.

"Really you could have figured this out if you lined up all of the boxes neatly on your table," Eghrari-Sabet said. "Fat is a huge reservoir of toxins. Toxins can of course cause inflammation. This is kind of like, what do you expect?"

Eghrari-Sabet noted that the inflammatory response caused by obesity already has been linked to other chronic conditions such as heart disease.

"If we explored this idea a little further: Is that the same cardiac disease you see in the adult? It would make you take the asthma in the young person so much more seriously because the problem is, so many people do not take asthma seriously," she said. "If you said your asthma is linked to heart disease, you would get that kid treated so much faster for asthma."

Study author Black said physicians and families should monitor overweight and obese children closely for signs of asthma.

"If they already have asthma, parents should think about their medication regimen and do everything they can to prevent some of these symptom exacerbations [flare-ups] from happening, knowing that kids who are obese are more likely to have these exacerbations," Black said.

More information

Visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology to learn more about childhood asthma.

SOURCES: Mary Helen Black, Ph.D., department of research and evaluation, Kaiser Permanente Southern California; Jacqueline Eghrari-Sabet, M.D., allergy and asthma specialist, Gaithersburg, Md., and fellow, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology; Aug. 7, 2013, American Journal of Epidemiology

Reviewed Date: --

Find a pediatrician
Neurology
L. Matthew Frank, MD
Ingrid Loma-Miller, MD
Ralph Northam, MD
Svinder Toor, MD
Larry White, MD
Childrens Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
J. Marc Cardelia, MD
Allison Crepeau, MD
Cara Novick, MD
H. Sheldon St. Clair, MD
Carl St. Remy, MD
Allison Tenfelde, MD
Pulmonology
Frank Chocano, MD
Shana Crabtree, MD
Cynthia Epstein, MD
Marilyn Gowen, MD
Jennifer Wiebke, MD
Health Tips
5 Tips for Controlling Your Child's Asthma
A Chubby Baby Is Not a Sign of Obesity
A Parent’s Guide to Choosing Child Care
A Weighty Issue: Childhood Obesity
Boost Your Teen Daughter’s Body Image
Cool Tools to Keep Your Kids From Smoking
Could Your Child Have a Drug Problem?
Diabetes Tops Child Obesity's Health Risks
Do Parents Influence Their Kids’ Health Behaviors?
Growing Up Short or Heavy Can Be Difficult
Guidelines for Raising Smoke-Free Kids
Help Your Babysitter Prepare for Anything
Helping Children Conquer Fear
How Old Is 'Old Enough' for Contacts?
How to Help an Overweight or Obese Child
How to Prevent Childhood Obesity
How to Raise Healthy Eaters
How to Talk About Drugs With Your Kids
If Your Child Needs Treatment for Weight Issues
Keeping Your Cool When Parenting Teens
Kids' Health Concerns Ease with Age
Making Rules for Children Reinforces Love
Making This School Year Your Child's Best Ever
New Parents...Sore Backs
Obese Parents Influence Children's Weight
Parents-to-Be Must Communicate
Paying for Attention: Abuse of Prescription ADHD Drugs Rising on College Campuses
Preparing Your Daughter for Changes
Reading to Kids Helps Their Development
Solving Battles at Mealtime
Talk With Your Kids About These Issues
Talking Sex with Your Teen
Teens and Talk: What's a Parent to Do?
The Metabolic Syndrome Puts Teens at Risk
We Can Head Off Teen Tragedies
What Is Exercise-Induced Bronchospasm?
What Kids Drink Is Important, Too
When Children Say 'No' to New Foods
When to Call the Doctor for Childhood Illnesses
When Your Child Says, 'I'm Sick'
Quizzes
Asthma Awareness Quiz
Asthma Knowledge Quiz
Asthma Quiz
Childhood Asthma Quiz
Heart Health Quiz
Heart Quiz for Women Only
NewsLetters
Is Your Sweet Tooth Harming Your Heart?
Diseases & Conditions
AIDS/HIV in Children
All About Asthma in Children
Anatomy of a Child's Brain
Anatomy of the Endocrine System in Children
Anomalous Coronary Artery (ACA)
Anxiety Disorders in Children
Asthma and Children
Asthma Attack Triggers
Asthma in Children Index
Asthma Medications
Avoiding Asthma Triggers
Bicycle, In-Line Skating, Skateboarding Safety--Injury Statistics and Incidence Rates
Bipolar Disorder in Children
Bone Marrow Transplantation in Children
Brain Tumors in Children
Chemotherapy for Children: Side Effects
Child Care
Chronic Respiratory Disorders
Diphtheria in Children
Discipline
During an Asthma Attack
Ewing Sarcoma
Firearms
Glossary - Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
Hand-Held Nebulizer Treatments
Heart Disease and Pregnancy
Hepatitis B (HBV) in Children
Home Page - Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
Home Page - Cardiovascular Disorders
Inflammatory and Infectious Musculoskeletal Disorders
Inflammatory and Infectious Neurological Disorders
Inguinal Hernia in Children
Insect Bites and Children
Kidney Transplantation in Children
Levels of Asthma
Management and Treatment of Asthma
Meningitis in Children
Mood Disorders in Children and Adolescents
Muscular Dystrophy
Myasthenia Gravis in Children
Obesity in Adolescents
Online Resources - Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
Osteosarcoma in Children
Peak Flow Meters/Oximeters/Spirometers
Pediatric Blood Disorders
Poliomyelitis (Polio) in Children
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children
Pregnancy and Medical Conditions
Preparing the School-Aged Child for Surgery
Schizophrenia in Children
School-Aged Child Nutrition
Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis
Sports Safety for Children
Superficial Injuries Overview
Television and Children
Thalassemia
The Growing Child: 2-Year-Olds
The Heart
The Kidneys
Topic Index - Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
Vision Overview
Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.