Overweight hypothesis in asthma and eczema in young adolescents

Allergol Immunopathol (Madr). 2006 Sep-Oct;34(5):199-205. doi: 10.1157/13094027.


Background: A positive association between body mass index (BMI) and allergic diseases has recently been suggested; however the sex-dependence of this association remains controversial. The aim of the present study was to explore the relationship between BMI and asthma and eczema, as well as its sex-dependence in young adolescents.

Methods: Self-reported data obtained through the standardized International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) Phase Three written questionnaires of 2926 young adolescents aged 13-14 years old from randomly selected schools in Skopje (Republic of Macedonia) were used. The BMI for each individual was calculated and used-both unadjusted and adjusted for confounding factors-as a variable for analysis. The international cut-off points for BMI for overweight and obesity by sex and age were used. Because of the very low prevalence of obesity (1.5 %), obese respondents were included in the overweight group. The data were statistically analyzed by the chi-square test, the t-test for independent samples and odds ratios (OR, 95 % CI) in binary logistic regression.

Results: Being overweight was significantly associated with an increased risk of having a dry night cough without a cold or chest infection (adjusted OR: 1.54; 95 % CI: 1.09-2.16; p = 0.01) and with having had self-reported asthma at some time (adjusted OR: 2.36; 95 % CI: 1.02-5.44; p = 0.04) in boys only. A significant association between overweight and other symptoms of asthma or atopic eczema was not established.

Conclusion: These findings suggest a male-specific positive association between overweight and a current dry night cough and having received a diagnosis of asthma at some time. No association was found with other asthma symptoms or atopic eczema in young adolescents.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma, Exercise-Induced / epidemiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Cough
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet
  • Eczema / epidemiology*
  • Exanthema / epidemiology
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Republic of North Macedonia / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Sounds
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology
  • Risk
  • Sex Factors
  • Sleep Disorders, Intrinsic / epidemiology
  • Sleep Disorders, Intrinsic / etiology