Malpractice News

August 17, 2013

Childhood obesity raises risk of asthma

If your child is overweight or obese, be on the lookout for signs of asthma. A new research study has found that kids who deal with weight problems are also more likely to develop asthma and it tends to be more severe than that found in children of normal weight. One indicator of this researchers found was a higher incidence of heavier kids visiting the emergency room to deal with asthma symptoms.

Mary Helen Black, a member of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s department of research and the study’s lead author, said, “If parents are noticing that their overweight or obese child is having asthma-like symptoms, one thing to pay attention to, instead of just addressing the asthma, is to potentially address the child's weight.” 

Risk remains despite age, gender, or race

She and her research team looked at health records of over 623,000 children within the ages of 6 and 19 during the years of 2007 to 2011. None of them had been diagnosed with asthma. Over the course of the course of the five analyzed years, 5 percent, or 32,000, of the kids developed asthma. In these 32,000 kids, those who fell in the overweight category were 16 percent more likely to develop asthma than kids with normal weight. Obese children were 37 percent more likely. These results were found after the team controlled for gender, race, and age. 

Obese kids have worse symptoms

The researchers extrapolated on the numbers, saying the severity of the condition was different as well: “After their diagnosis . . . 106 out of every 1,000 extremely obese youth went to the ER for asthma, compared to 87 of every 1,000 normal weight kids with asthma.” Obese children were also more likely to experience “exacerbation,” which means their asthma got worse over time and made it more likely they would need to use “rescue” medicines. 

Even little weight loss makes difference

Black hypothesized a number of reasons for the higher number of asthma cases in kids and teens with obesity. She thought that perhaps body-wide inflammation caused by higher fat percentages could be one factor. It could also be due to the restriction on airways caused by body mass.”Especially those [children] who are extremely obsese definitely have a more restricted capacity for air exchange and things like that,” she said. Thus, she added, “If an extremely obese child is able to get down into even the overweight range, they may have a much greater capacity for breathing normally.


Site design and development by Design Spike®, Inc.