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

Childhood Asthma May Encourage Obesity, Study Suggests

Childhood Asthma May Encourage Obesity, Study Suggests

FRIDAY, Jan. 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- A young child with asthma has a greater risk of obesity than one without the chronic respiratory condition, a new study suggests.

Among nearly 2,200 elementary school students in California, researchers found that childhood asthma was linked to a 51 percent increased risk of obesity over the next 10 years.

"I was surprised it was that substantial," said study senior author Dr. Frank Gilliland. He is a professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles.

However, kids who used "rescue" inhalers were less likely to become obese compared to those who did not treat flare-ups, the investigators found.

Prevalence of obesity and asthma has increased dramatically over the past several decades, and researchers suspect there's a biological connection between the two.

Previous research has shown obese children are at an increased risk of developing asthma. "This is the other way around -- kids with asthma have a substantial increase in the risk for developing obesity," Gilliland said.

Asthma patients have inflamed, narrowed airways. They may experience chest tightness, coughing and shortness of breath in response to infections, allergens, irritants in the air, physical activity and other triggers.

This study only found an association between asthma and obesity, not a direct cause-and-effect relationship. And it doesn't suggest that all kids with asthma will become obese.

Still, Gilliland theorized about why this link might exist.

Children may play outdoors less often when their asthma symptoms flare up, he suggested.

Also, "sleep disturbances are common in asthma, and a large risk factor for obesity," Gilliland said. In addition, obesity and asthma could have common genetic underpinnings, he noted.

The researchers also pointed out that weight gain is a side effect of many asthma medications.

A pediatric asthma specialist in Miami said she has noticed the link between asthma and obesity in her young patients.

It can be a vicious cycle, said Dr. Vivian Hernandez-Trujillo, section chief of allergy and immunology at Nicklaus Children's Hospital.

"Children who don't feel well [due to asthma] can't exercise," she said. Also, "part of it is fear." They're afraid of an asthma attack. That inactivity can lead to obesity, Hernandez-Trujillo said.

Doctors usually prescribe two types of medication for asthma: a long-term control inhaler; and a quick-relief, or rescue, inhaler for use during flare-ups, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

For the study, the researchers reviewed medical records of over 2,000 students, aged 5 to 8, enrolled in the large Southern California Children's Health Study. At the study start, no one was obese; 13.5 percent had asthma.

Researchers followed the students for up to 10 years. During that time, nearly 16 percent of the children developed obesity.

Having asthma was linked to a raised risk, and the association held even after accounting for factors such as health insurance and physical activity, the study authors said.

But kids who used rescue medicine, such as albuterol, during an asthma attack had a 43 percent lower risk of becoming obese, the findings showed. However, the study found no link between maintenance medications (inhaled steroids) and reduced risk.

The researchers duplicated the findings in another sample of children from the Children's Health Study.

Hernandez-Trujillo said that the take-home message from this study is that "we need to ensure patients with asthma receive proper treatment."

As long as asthma is controlled, she said, children can lead a normal life, including getting physical activity.

Gilliland agreed. Be sure your child's asthma symptoms are not limiting sports activity or other exercise, he said.

Also, seek help if a child has sleep issues because good sleep can reduce obesity risk, he added.

Hernandez-Trujillo tells her patients who are trying out for sports, "It's not about being first. It's about trying."

The study was published online Jan. 20 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

More information

To learn more about helping kids maintain a healthy weight, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Frank Gilliland, M.D., Ph.D., professor, preventive medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles; Vivian Hernandez-Trujillo, M.D., section chief, allergy and immunology, Nicklaus Children's Hospital, Miami, and clinical associate professor of pediatrics, Herbert Wertheim School of Medicine, Florida International University; Jan. 20, 2017, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, online

Reviewed Date: --

Find a pediatrician
Allergy/Immunology
Dr. Angela Duff Hogan
Dr. Cynthia Kelly
Dr. Kelly Maples
Dr. Lindsey Moore
Dr. Maripaz Morales
Dr. Lauren Smith
Allergy and Asthma Specialists Ltd.
Dr. Craig S. Koenig
Dr. Gary B. Moss
Dr. Gregory G. Pendell
John R Sweeney
Pulmonology
Dr. Frank Chocano
Dr. Cynthia Epstein
Dr. Lori Vanscoy
Health Tips
A Chubby Baby Is Not a Sign of Future Obesity
Helping Kids Get Over their Fears
How Old Is "Old Enough" for Contacts?
Is It Time for Toilet Training?
Making Family Fitness Fun
Reading to Kids Helps Their Development
Sports and Music: Both Good for Kids
Weight Room No Longer Off-Limits to Kids
Quizzes
Asthma Awareness Quiz
Asthma in Children Quiz
Asthma Knowledge Quiz
Child Development Quiz
Childhood Asthma Quiz
Swimming Quiz
Prevention
Prevention Guidelines for Men 18 to 39
Prevention Guidelines for Women 18 to 39
Prevention Guidelines for Women 40-49
Prevention Guidelines for Women 50-64
Prevention Guidelines for Women 65+
Prevention Guidelines, Ages 2 to 18
NewsLetters
Screenings May Help Trim Childhood Obesity
Diseases & Conditions
Anatomy of a Child's Brain
Anatomy of the Endocrine System in Children
Anxiety Disorders in Children
Asthma in Children
Asthma in Children Index
Asthma Triggers
Becker Muscular Dystrophy (BMD) in Children
Bone Marrow Transplant for Children
Brain Tumors in Children
Chemotherapy for Children: Side Effects
Chronic Respiratory Disorders
Discipline
Ewing Sarcoma in Children
Exercise and Adolescents
Exercise and Children
Firearms
Hepatitis B (HBV) in Children
Home Page - Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
Inflammatory and Infectious Musculoskeletal Disorders
Inflammatory and Infectious Neurological Disorders
Inguinal Hernia in Children
Insect Bites and Children
Kidney Transplantation in Children
Meningitis in Children
Mood Disorders in Children and Adolescents
Myasthenia Gravis (MG) in Children
Obesity in Teens
Online Resources - Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
Osteosarcoma (Osteogenic Sarcoma) in Children
Pediatric Blood Disorders
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Children
Pregnancy and Medical Conditions
Preparing the School-Aged Child for Surgery
Schizophrenia in Children
School-Aged Child Nutrition
Sports Safety for Children
Superficial Injuries Overview
Television and Children
Thalassemia
The Growing Child: 1 to 3 Months
The Growing Child: 10 to 12 Months
The Growing Child: 2-Year-Olds
The Growing Child: 4 to 6 Months
The Growing Child: 7 to 9 Months
The Growing Child: Newborn
The Growing Child: Preschool (4 to 5 Years)
The Growing Child: School-Age (6 to 12 Years)
The Heart
The Kidneys
Topic Index - Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
Your Child's Asthma
Your Child's Asthma: Avoiding Triggers
Your Child's Asthma: Flare-ups
Your Child's Asthma: How Severe Is It?
Your Child's Asthma: Nebulizer Treatments
Your Child's Asthma: Peak Flow Meters, Oximeters, and Spirometers

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.