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Teen Lung Health Accurately Predicted By Birth Measurements

Update Date: Sep 09, 2014 05:28 PM EDT

Measurements taken at birth can be used to accurately predict teen lung health, according to a new study.

Research presented today at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress in Munich, revealed that factors like birth weight, gestational age at birth, growth and other factors at eight years of age can be used to predict lung health in teen years.

Researchers analyzed data from over 3,000 children participating in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Mothers and Children (ALSPAC). Gestational age and weight were measured at birth and height, weight and lung function were measured eight years later.

Statistical analysis revealed that measurements taken at the age of 8 years and at birth predicts a person's lung function at 14 through 17. Researcher noted that birth weight only had a small effect on lung function in teen years.

Researchers said the findings suggest that measurements taken throughout childhood could accurately predict lung development.

"This is an important finding as the study suggests that it may be possible to identify children who may develop lung disease as adults. We know that certain risk factors, such as environmental pollution or tobacco smoking, can lead to adult disease. If we are able to predict which children are more likely to develop adult disease, it will be even more important for us to help prevent exposure to risk factors as they grow up. This represents a key intervention point for clinicians," lead researcher Dr. W. John Watkins of Cardiff University in the UK, said in a news release.

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