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Study: 10 Percent of Child Asthma Preventable By Reducing Overweight and Obesity in Children

11/26/2018

It’s long been understood that obesity is linked to asthma in adults, but a new study in the December 2018 Pediatrics, “Being Overweight or Obese and the Development of Asthma,” published online Nov. 26, shows that an estimated 23 percent to 27 percent of new asthma cases in obese children are directly attributable to obesity.  Researchers found that in the absence of overweight or obesity, 10 percent of all U.S. cases of pediatric asthma could be avoided. Researchers studied 507,496 children, half who were overweight or obese and half who had a healthy weight, from more than 19.5 million doctor visits from the PEDSnet clinical data research network from January 2009 to December 2015. Based on the current estimate of 6 to 8 million pediatric asthma cases in the U.S., researchers estimate up to 1 million of cases of children’s asthma (12.7 percent) are directly attributable to overweight and obesity. Until now, there have been few known preventable factors which can potentially reduce childhood asthma.  Researchers concluded that obesity is a major preventable risk factor for pediatric asthma and that successful interventions which reduce pediatric obesity must be a major public health priority to improve the quality of life of children. 

EDITOR NOTE: A commentary, “Quantifying the Contribution of Obesity to Incident Childhood Asthma- It’s About Time” is being published with this study.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds