Objectives: We sought to determine whether mild-moderate persistent asthma sufficient to produce a decrease in baseline lung function is associated with an adverse effect on growth and bone mineral density (BMD) in children.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study of 1041 children, 5 to 12 years old (32% ethnic/racial minorities and 40% female), enrolled into the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP). Measures of asthma severity included: Spirometry; bronchial hyperresponsiveness; duration of asthma symptoms; and symptom-based assessment of severity. Multiple regression analyses were used to relate the asthma severity on the primary outcome variables: Height by stadiometry and BMD by dual energy radiographic absorptiometry.
Results: The mean +/- SD height percentile was 56.0 +/- 28.5 percentile for the population. The only significant relationship between asthma severity and height percentile was with methacholine bronchoprovocation in girls (beta 2.98, P =.019, covariate multiple regression). The mean +/- SD BMD was 0.65 +/- 0.10 g/cm(2) for the population. The past use of corticosteroids did not adversely affect either growth or BMD.
Conclusions: We found that mild-moderate asthma of as long as 4 to 7 years duration in children does not produce an adverse effect on linear growth or BMD.