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Children With Asthma At Risk For Developing Obesity

Update Date: Jan 24, 2017 10:05 AM EST

Medical professionals and researchers have observed that asthma and obesity occur at the same time. Previous studies have even shown that there is an increased risk of asthma and other respiratory problem among overweight children. These observations have lead a team of researchers to investigate whether children with asthma are at risk of developing obesity.

The study, conducted at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, investigated the effects of asthma and the use of asthma medications to the risk of developing childhood obesity. The researchers believe that asthma and use of asthma medications are the plausible cause of childhood obesity as some asthma medications have side effects of weight gain.

In order to prove their hypothesis, the researchers conducted a longitudinal study. Data was collected and analyzed from the 2,171 non-obese children enrolled in the Southern California Children's Health Study (CHS). The children's ages ranged from five to eight years old.

A replicate analysis was also conducted with 2,684 children also enrolled in CHS and with ages ranging from nine to eighteen years old. The study was conducted over the course of ten years with follow-ups occurring very three to five years.

Published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, the study found that among the children participants, 15.8 percent developed obesity. Children who were diagnosed with asthma at the start of the study were at risk of developing obesity during their childhood and adolescence by 51 percent. In addition, the same results were found among the children with ages ranging from nine to eighteen years old.

After analyzing the data collected from the study, the researchers also found that the effects of asthma and use of asthma medications in increasing risk of developing obesity is stronger for boys, Hispanic White, and already overweight children compared to girls, non-Hispanic White, and normal-weight children.

However, the study also found that the use of asthma medications does not contribute to the development of childhood obesity but even reduces the risk of obesity.

The researchers conclude that the diagnosis of asthma precedes the occurrence of weight gain or obesity. Moreover, the vicious cycle between asthma and childhood obesity can be prevented if children diagnosed with asthma are treated early thus stopping possible weight gain leading to obesity.

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