Children with asthma who are overweight or obese are more likely to have a higher body mass index than their peers who are overweight but do not have asthma, University of Florida researchers have found. The study findings appeared in the Journal of Asthma.
“There has been a concurrent rise in the prevalence of both asthma and childhood obesity,” said lead investigator Dr. David Fedele, an assistant professor in the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions’ department of clinical and health psychology. “The study data suggest that having asthma may place children at increased risk for elevated weight status. The reasons for this are likely multifactorial.”
In a study of about 250 children ages 7 to 12, the UF team, which also included Dr. David Janicke, an associate professor in clinical and health psychology, and Dr. Mutasim Abu-Hasan, an associate professor of pediatrics, compared zBMI scores (body mass index calculations standardized for age), diet, physical activity, sleep duration, and health-related quality of life of children with asthma who are obese and children who are obese only. Researchers also assessed parent distress in both groups.
The researchers found that children in the asthma and obesity group had significantly higher zBMI scores, less sleep time, and were potentially less likely to engage in physical activity, as measured by accelerometers, than the obesity only group.
“Clinicians who provide care for youth diagnosed with asthma are encouraged to consider the additional linkages weight status may have on health behaviors and psychosocial functioning in both youth and their parents,” Dr. Fedele said. “Future research should continue to explore the impact of obesity on youth with asthma in longitudinal studies and work toward interventions to target weight loss.”