Is birth weight related to lung function and asthma symptoms in Nordic-Baltic adults?

Respir Med. 2004 Jul;98(7):611-8. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2004.01.003.


Studies of birth characteristics and respiratory outcomes show contradictory findings. We wanted to investigate the association of birth weight with adult lung function as well as asthma symptoms while addressing the influence of demographic and environmental factors. Data was collected from the birth records of 1683 men and women born in 1947-1973 who were included in 6 Nordic-Baltic population samples investigated within the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS). In the adults, an increase in birth weight from below 2500 g to above 4000 g was associated with an increase from 96% to 104% predicted one-second forced expiratory volume (P<0.01) and from 1.00% to 107% predicted forced vital capacity (P<0.01). However, birth weight was not associated with symptoms of asthma. After adjustment for birth length, gender, age, study centre, adult BMI, allergic rhinitis, parental and adult tobacco smoke exposure in multivariate regression analyses, birth weight was not associated with adult lung function or asthma symptoms. Further sub-sample analyses revealed no influence of gestational age, gender, age or geographical area. In this historic prospective cohort study an association was neither found between birth weight and adult lung function nor between birth weight and asthma symptoms.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / embryology*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Birth Weight / physiology*
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / physiology
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lung / embryology
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Vital Capacity / physiology