From the Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
To determine the relation between obesity and new-onset asthma among school-age children, the authors examined longitudinal data from 3,792 participants in the Children’s Health Study (Southern California) who were asthma-free at enrollment. New cases of physician-diagnosed asthma, height, weight, lung function, and risk factors for asthma were assessed annually at five school visits between 1993 and 1998. Incidence rates were calculated, and proportional hazards regression models were fitted to estimate the adjusted relative risks of new-onset asthma associated with percentile of body mass index (weight (kg)/height (m)2) and indicators of overweight (>85th body mass index percentile) and obesity (>95th body mass index percentile). The risk of new-onset asthma was higher among children who were overweight (relative risk (RR) = 1.52, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.14, 2.03) or obese (RR = 1.60, 95% CI: 1.08, 2.36). Boys had an increased risk associated with being overweight (RR = 2.06, 95% 1.33, 3.18) in comparison with girls (RR = 1.25, 95% CI: 0.83, 1.88). The effect of being overweight was greater in nonallergic children (RR = 1.77, 95% CI: 1.26, 2.49) than in allergic children (RR = 1.16, 95% CI: 0.63, 2.15). The authors conclude that being overweight is associated with an increased risk of new-onset asthma in boys and in nonallergic children.
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