Body mass index in young children and allergic disease: gender differences in a longitudinal study
Article first published online: 16 AUG 2010
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Clinical & Experimental Allergy
Volume 41, Issue 1, pages 78–85, January 2011
How to Cite
Murray, C. S., Canoy, D., Buchan, I., Woodcock, A., Simpson, A. and Custovic, A. (2011), Body mass index in young children and allergic disease: gender differences in a longitudinal study. Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 41: 78–85. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.2010.03598.x
- Issue published online: 14 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 16 AUG 2010
- Submitted 13 October 2009; revised 22 June 2010; accepted 23 June 2010
- body mass index;
Background The increase in allergic diseases has occurred in parallel with the obesity epidemic, suggesting a possible association.
Objective We investigated the relationship of body mass index (BMI) up to age 8 years with allergic disease within a birth cohort.
Methods Children were followed from birth and were reviewed at age 3, 5 and 8 years (n=731; male 406). Parents completed questionnaires; children were weighed, measured, skin prick tested and examined.
Results Increasing BMI at 3, 5 and 8 years increased the risk of current wheezing at the corresponding age (odds ratio [95% confidence interval] per standardized deviation score: age 3, 1.26 [1.04–1.53], P=0.02; age 5, 1.33 [1.06–1.67], P=0.02; age 8, 1.27 [1.0–1.62], P=0.05). The effect of BMI on wheeze at age 8 years differed between boys and girls, with a significant positive association in girls, but not in boys (P=0.04 for interaction). The effect of BMI at earlier ages on current or subsequent wheezing did not differ significantly between genders. Increasing BMI significantly increased the risk of physician-diagnosed eczema at age 5 (1.23 [1.04–1.47], P=0.02) and 8 (1.23 [1.03–1.45], P=0.02), with a significant interaction between gender and BMI at age 5 (P=0.04). There was no association between BMI and sensitization. Being overweight at age 3 years was significantly associated with late-onset wheeze (3.83 [1.51–9.75], P=0.005), persistent wheeze (4.15 [2.07–8.32], P<0.001) and persistent eczema (1.79 [1.03–3.13], P=0.04) in both boys and girls.
Conclusions Being overweight is associated with an increased risk of allergic disease in childhood. However, the strength of the association varies with the gender, age and atopic phenotype.
Cite this as: C. S. Murray, D. Canoy, I. Buchan, A. Woodcock, A. Simpson and A. Custovic, Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2011 (41) 78–85.