Obese Moms Spread Children's Asthma

Obesity during pregnancy increases asthma risks

(RxWiki News) Women who are obese during pregnancy put their children at higher risk for asthma. A new study shows that a mother's weight has an effect on the respiratory health of her child.

Reuters reports that a team of Australian and Swedish researchers found that among mothers who were considered very obese, their children were 61 percent more likely to develop asthma by the time they reached 8 to 10 years old. Women who were obese while pregnant are more likely to have children who suffer from asthma.

"Ask your OB/GYN about weight management."

The Stockholm-based study surveyed 129,000 mothers and their 189,000 children. Dr. Adrian Lowe, lead author of the study, explained that a mother's obesity increases her child's risk of becoming obese, which in turn influences the baby's immune system and its response to allergens. A link between obesity and asthma has been established in many previous studies.

“Very obese” is considered to be a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or over. Mothers who fell within this category had a 41 percent higher chance of their children developing asthma, compared to mothers of normal weight. The study also found that women who were simply overweight had an 18 percent greater risk.

Dr. Lowe said that there was a clear increased risk of childhood asthma, as indicated by medication use and hospitalization, with increasing degrees of maternal obesity. He said campaigns to reduce adult obesity might help reduce rates of childhood asthma.

The study was published online on September 26, 2011 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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Review Date: 
October 10, 2011