Obesity and asthma in 11–12 year old New Zealand children in 1989 and 2000
- 1Wellington Asthma Research Group, Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, New Zealand
- 2Healthcare Hawkes Bay, Hastings, New Zealand
- 3Faculty of Medicine, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
- 4Department of Public Health, Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, New Zealand
- Correspondence to:
Wellington Asthma Research Group, Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, P O Box 7343, Wellington South, New Zealand;
- Received 11 November 2002
- Accepted 27 August 2004
Background: There has been a concurrent increase in the prevalence of obesity and asthma in recent years in New Zealand and other countries.
Methods: Two cross sectional surveys performed in 1989 and 2000 were used to test this association in children of mean age 11.7 years. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated as weight/height2 (kg/m2) and obesity and overweight defined according to an international standard. Standard questions were used to measure the prevalence of asthma symptoms.
Results: Significant increases in the prevalence of reported symptoms and disease between 1989 and 2000 were not explained by a concurrent increase in the prevalence of obesity. In 2000, multivariate analysis showed that increasing BMI standard deviation score was significantly associated with current wheeze (p = 0.002), inhaled steroid use (p = 0.004), and the use of any medication (p = 0.001). None of the associations was significantly different for boys or girls.
Conclusion: There is some evidence for an association of obesity with asthma symptoms and treatment but this does not explain the increasing prevalence of this disease.
This research was assisted by grants from the Hawkes Bay Medical Research Foundation, the Health Research Council of New Zealand, and the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand.