Purpose of review: Childhood asthma and obesity are significant public health problems. The prevalence of both disorders has increased considerably in the past decade. This review will highlight recent publications regarding the nature of the relationship between asthma and obesity and the clinical effects of obesity in children with asthma.
Recent findings: Most prospective studies suggest that obesity increases the risk of subsequent asthma. Possible mechanisms for the relationship between asthma and obesity include airway inflammation, mechanical changes associated with obesity, changes in airway hyper-responsiveness, and changes in physical activity and diet. Most studies suggest that obesity increases the clinical severity of asthma and decreases quality of life in children with asthma. More research is required to further define and clarify the relationship between asthma and obesity in children.
Summary: There are many questions and few answers regarding the relationship between asthma and obesity in children. Additional studies are needed to clarify the relationship between the two epidemics so that effective interventions can be developed to improve the health and lives of children with both asthma and obesity.