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Being Overweight May Reduce Lung Function in Children

Update Date: Jan 03, 2014 06:03 PM EST

Being overweight may reduce lung function in children with a history of early childhood wheezing.

Researchers form the University of Eastern Finland found that the use of inhaled corticosteroids for asthma in childhood could lead to loss of bone mineral density in early teenage years.

"In the light of these results, weight control is especially important for children who have suffered from bronchiolitis in early childhood. As to the use of inhaled corticosteroids, particular attention should be paid to using the lowest sufficient dose to maintain adequate asthma control," researcher Dr. Virpi Sidoroff, said when she presented her results in her doctoral dissertation.

Lead researcher reveals that overweight children face increased asthma risk. However, the link between asthma, allergy, lung function and obesity in children is unclear. While the use of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) for asthma has steadily increased, knowledge of their long-term safety remains insufficient.

The latest study involved 100 children who were hospitalized for wheezing when they were between 1 to 23 months old.  The study revealed that by 12 years of age, 38 percent of the participants were asthmatic and 33 percent were overweight, 20 percent being obese. The study also linked being overweight to decreased FEV1/FVC ratio at both 7 and 12 years of age and reduced flows in small airways at 12 years. Thus, researchers concluded that being overweight or obese significantly increases the risk of reduced lung function at school age.

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