Body Mass Index Development and Asthma Throughout Childhood


Several studies have found an association between overweight and asthma, yet the temporal relationship between their onsets remains unclear. We investigated the development of body mass index (BMI) from birth to adolescence among 2,818 children with and without asthma from a Swedish birth cohort study, the BAMSE (a Swedish acronym for “children, allergy, milieu, Stockholm, epidemiology”) Project, during 1994–2013. Measured weight and height were available at 13 time points throughout childhood. Asthma phenotypes (transient, persistent, and late-onset) were defined by timing of onset and remission. Quantile regression was used to analyze percentiles of BMI, and generalized estimating equations were used to analyze the association between asthma phenotypes and the risk of high BMI. Among females, BMI development differed between children with and without asthma, with the highest BMI being seen among females with persistent asthma. The difference existed throughout childhood but increased with age. For example, females with persistent asthma had 2.33 times’ (95% confidence interval: 1.21, 4.49) greater odds of having a BMI above the 85th percentile at age ≥15 years than females without asthma. Among males, no clear associations between asthma and BMI were observed. In this study, persistent asthma was associated with high BMI throughout childhood among females, whereas no consistent association was observed among males.


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