Objective: The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between maternal pre-pregnancy obesity and a diagnosis of asthma in offspring at age 3 years.
Methods: A population-based sample of children born in large U.S. cities in 1998-2000 was followed since birth (N=1971). The main outcome measure was whether the mother reported at 3 years that the child had ever been diagnosed with asthma. Multilevel logistic regression models were used to estimate the association between maternal pre-pregnancy obesity and child asthma diagnosis, as well as the extent to which the association can be explained by sociodemographic, medical, obstetric, and behavioral factors associated with both conditions.
Results: Children with obese mothers had 52% higher odds of having an asthma diagnosis by age 3 (OR=1.52; 95% CI: 1.18-1.93). Sociodemographic, medical, obstetric, and behavioral factors explained some, but not all, of the association.
Conclusions: Maternal pre-pregnancy obesity is associated with diagnosis of asthma in offspring at age 3 years. The results from this study are preliminary and need to be replicated and further explored, but are suggestive of a complex intergenerational linkage between obesity and asthma.