Early Life Weight Gain and Development of Childhood Asthma in a Prospective Birth Cohort
Sunday, March 4, 2018: 2:30 PM
S310GH (Convention Center)
Hui-Ju Tsai, , , ,
RATIONALE: Childhood asthma has been on the rise in the U.S. and worldwide. In parallel, the obesity epidemic continues to affect all age groups, including pregnant women and their children. While obesity and asthma are associated, it remains unclear which one comes first. We sought to investigate whether early life weight gain can affect the risk of childhood asthma in the Boston Birth Cohort.

METHODS: This report included 1,971 children (550 asthmatic) enrolled at birth and followed up to age 16 years. We categorized the children by their weight gain Z-score during the first 4, 12 and 24 months of life, respectively, into four groups: slow (<−0.67), on track (−0.67-0.67), rapid (0.67-1.28), and extremely rapid growth (>1.28). Logistic regressions were applied to determine the relationship between weight gain and childhood asthma.

RESULTS: Weight gain in the first 4, 12, and 24 months was all significantly associated with an increased risk of childhood asthma. Using 12 month as an example, an adjusted odds ratio (AOR) of 1.6 and a 95% confidence interval (CI) of 1.1-2.2 were found for the extremely rapid growth group compared to the on-track group. The association was more pronounced among children born preterm (AOR=5.3; 95%CI=1.8-15.7).

CONCLUSIONS: In this predominantly urban, low-income minority birth cohort, excessive weight gain in the first 4, 12, and 24 months, was all associated with an increased risk of childhood asthma, particularly among those with preterm birth. This finding underscores the importance of ensuring optimal weight gain in infancy for reducing the risk of childhood asthma.