Monday, November 26, 2018 (HealthDay News) – Asthma lung disease lung is still another problem linked to overweight in childhood, a new study suggests.
The survey states that up to 10% of pediatric asthma cases in the United States could be avoided if childhood obesity were eliminated.
"There are few preventable risk factors for asthma – obesity may be the only one. About 6 to 8 million children have asthma, so if 10% of those cases were removed (eradicating obesity), there would be 800,000 children. " without asthma, "said study lead author Dr. Jason Lang.
He is an associate professor in the Division of Allergy, Immunology and Pulmonary Medicine at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C.
About 18% of children in the United States are obese. This can impair their quality of life and increase the risk of chronic diseases, the study authors said.
Although asthma and obesity in adults are linked, there has been debate over whether obesity is a factor in childhood asthma, the researchers explained. The current study sought to address some of the concerns with previous research, Lang said.
The new study looked at data on more than half a million children and about 19 million doctor visits. These visits took place at one of the six major child health centers in the United States.
The children were diagnosed with asthma in two or more medical appointments. They also received lung function tests (a step missing from some previous research) and a prescription, such as an inhaler, for treating asthma.
Children who were obese were 30% more likely to be diagnosed with asthma. Overweight children had a 17% increase in asthma risk, the results showed.
How can being overweight lead to asthma?
No one knows for sure yet. And this study does not prove a cause and effect relationship.
But there are several theories, Lang said. One is that obese children may have changes in lung growth that can lead to lower airways, which would allow more airflow obstruction. It is possible that obesity can lead to changes that make the lungs more reactive, he suggested.
Lang said it is also possible that other conditions linked to obesity – such as acid reflux or sleep apnea – may contribute to asthma. "Or, it may not be just one thing. It could be a combination," he said.
Dr. Sophia Jan, chief of pediatrics at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y., said the link between the two conditions is unclear, but the inflammation caused by obesity may play a role. She also suggested that certain genes may be behind both conditions.
And finally, "once the child has developed obesity, the weight in the chest and upper body will likely exert weight on the lungs, affecting the lung's overall ability to expand and function," she said. Jan also suspects that several factors link obesity and asthma.
So, what can parents do?
According to Lang, "there is literature that shows when children and adults lose weight, their asthma gets much better and may even disappear completely."
He noted that physical activity is an important part of any weight loss effort and the suggested children follow the recommended guidelines and achieve at least one hour per day of activity.
"The activity expands the lungs and gives periods of high ventilation. It is healthy for the lungs to do this," Lang said.
Jan added that maintaining a healthy weight is healthy for several reasons.
"In addition to long-term cardiovascular benefits – prevention of heart disease, stroke and diabetes – there are numerous short-term benefits, including reduced risk of sleep apnea, heartburn, gallstones, muscle and joint pain, low self-esteem, and anxiety. bullying, "she said.
And now, preventing or minimizing the severity of asthma can be added to that list, she noted.
The results of the study were published online November 26 in Pediatrics.
To learn more about the connection between weight and asthma, go to the American Lung Association.
SOURCES: Jason Lang, M.D., M.P.H., Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Allergy, Immunology and Pulmonary Medicine, Duke University Medical School, Durham, N.C. Sophia Jan, M.D., chief of pediatrics at Cohen Children Medical Center, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; November 26, 2018, Pediatrics, connected