Research: Does asthma contribute to childhood obesity epidemic?

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In a recent study, scientists have found that asthma could give rise to childhood obesity epidemic. The University of Southern California study showed that beyond wheezing and shortness of breath, asthma can lead to bodies that make young people more susceptible to other health problems later in life. Senior author Lida Chatzi said asthma and obesity pack a one-two punch against childrenís health, which raises concerns about a public health crisis due to their prevalence. For two decades, scientists have documented the parallel epidemics of childhood asthma and obesity, with focus on how obesity is a risk factor for asthma. In adults, obesity is an important risk factor for new asthma, especially among women, but the relationships appear to differ in children. Few studies look at the problem the other way around to understand how asthma contributes to obesity in kids, which prompted scientists to undertake this research. On average, the scientists found that children diagnosed with asthma had a 66 percent higher risk of becoming obese than those without an asthma diagnosis. For children with persistent wheezing symptoms, their risk of developing obesity was 50 percent greater compared to children without such symptoms. Children with active asthma were nearly twice as likely to develop obesity than those without asthma and wheezing, according to the study. The study appears in the European Respiratory Journal.

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