Mr. Edward Leinaar, Master of Public Health student, along with Drs. Arsham Alamian and Liang Wang, Assistant Professors in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology of the College of Public Health, has published an article in Annals of Epidemiology. The article, “A Systematic Review of the Relationship between Asthma, Overweight, and the Effects of Physical Activity in Youth”, appeared in the July 2016 issue of the journal.
“When Edward came to my office three years ago and said he is interested in conducting research, I did not know what to expect of him as he was in the early months of his graduate studies,” said Dr. Alamian. “Not only was Edward able to conduct a thorough review of the literature on the topic of asthma and overweight, but he also managed to prepare a manuscript that was accepted in Annals of Epidemiology which is a hard-to-publish journal in our field.”
A systematic review of literature was conducted using PubMed and Medline databases. Studies conducted among youth aged 0 to 18 years, published in English during the period of 2000 to 2014 were included. A comprehensive search yielded 143 studies in PubMed and 133 studies in Medline databases. Of these, 75 studies met the eligibility criteria.
The researchers hypothesized physical activity may be deterred by symptoms of asthma or exercise-induced bronchospasm, predisposing asthmatic children to engage in less physical activity and, therefore, experience subsequent weight gain. Several recurring themes were posited as mechanisms by which asthma could be related to physical activity including symptoms of asthma, negative self-perception of physical ability, and parental perceptions of risk associated with physical activity in asthmatic youth.
Studies showed self-efficacy for physical activity likely affects children’s health by influencing the amount of effort a child will expend on exercise activities, and may affect resilience to setbacks. Parental perceptions associated with decreased activity levels in asthmatic children were that strenuous activity upset their children and that exercise would induce sickness. The authors distinguished between the possibilities that some parents may misperceive the extent of asthma’s limitation of their child’s exercise ability, whereas others may correctly perceive that their child experiences asthma symptoms secondary to exercise.
The researchers suggested the relationship between asthma and overweight/obesity is well accepted, but further investigation is also needed to ascertain the degree and direction of the association and to identify mediating variables and to determine their degree of influence.
Annals of Epidemiology is a peer reviewed, international journal devoted to epidemiologic research and methodological development. It is the official journal of the American College of Epidemiology. The journal emphasizes the application of epidemiologic methods to issues that affect the distribution and determinants of human illness in diverse contexts. Its primary focus is on chronic and acute conditions of diverse etiologies and of major importance to clinical medicine, public health, and health care delivery.