A new study shows overweight children coming down with asthma at a rate of 16 to 37 percent higher depending on how overweight or obese they are. The data source was the health records of 623,358 children. Over the last 30 years, this chronic lung disease has doubled and is still growing as the most prevalent chronic disease in youths. Obesity has skyrocketed, and the direct relationship between the two diseases is unavoidable. Not only are obese children more likely to get asthma, the severity of the disease is typically much worse. As might be expected, the more obese a child is, the more severe the disease may be.
This study was performed by Kaiser Permanente who maintains the largest electronic health record system in the world. Their database serves as a rich source for medical studies that contribute to the cure of disease and the improvement of systems and services. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente provides health insurance plans, hospitals and regional clinics. It is the largest organization of its kind in the US.
Childhood obesity doubles the risk for asthma in children
A study on asthma and overweight youths was done by the North Carolina Division of Public Healthand Conceptual Mindworks, Inc. The results of this study is that twice as many obese children develop asthma than those of normal weight. The youths studied were ages 10 to 17. The study included a quote from The Journal of American Medical Association, “Obese Children are almost six times more likely than youths with healthy weights to have an impaired quality of life – equal to that of youths undergoing treatment for cancer.”
JAMA collates obesity and asthma in a December 1998 article (Vol 152, No. 12). The JAMA Pediatrics article showed that youths with asthma are much more inclined to be obese. They speculated that a child with the disease was more likely to be sedentary and because of that be overweight. But they recommended treatment for obesity be implemented on overweight youths with asthma, strongly indicating that a reduction in bodyweight and an increase in physical activity would lessen the severity of the disease. They realized at that time that they did not understand the order of the onset of asthma and obesity. These recent studies are showing us that obesity more frequently preludes chronic lung disease and causes it (although certainly in some cases the reverse would be true). Our point in looking at the 1998 JAMA report is to show obesity causing asthma is not a new concept. This is information that should be known by parents to protect their youths from respiratory illness being caused by obesity.
Over and over again, studies on obesity and disease cite a lack of activity as a major cause of youths being overweight, and now so do some studies on chronic lung disease. We feel that parents are responsible for avoiding obesity and related diseases such as asthma – for their children. As parents, they are role models, and as role models, they should maintain a healthy lifestyle for themselves including proper diet and exercise. Too many video games and too much television and computer time are major causes of inactivity and subsequent obesity in the United States. Moving, getting out of the house is a parent’s responsibility. So go play ball, or hike around a park, even walking in a museum burns calories. Your lifestyle and appearance show your children how to live and be thin and healthy. You must decide to be healthy first.