Comparison of anthropometric measures of obesity in childhood allergic asthma: central obesity is most relevant

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Jun;123(6):1321-7.e12. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2009.03.023. Epub 2009 May 12.


Background: Established indicators of central obesity include waist circumference, waist/height ratio, and the conicity index. Studies using such measures (as opposed to body mass index [BMI] percentiles) to characterize the association between obesity and asthma are lacking, despite the fact that these measures have been shown to be most relevant for many other chronic diseases.

Objectives: We sought to examine measures assessing the distribution of obesity in the context of childhood allergic rhinitis and asthma and to elucidate the association of obesity, including central obesity, with allergic asthma in children.

Methods: Children with allergic rhinitis with (cases) or without (control subjects) asthma were recruited. BMI percentiles were derived by using national growth charts. Waist circumference, waist/height ratio, and conicity index values were obtained.

Results: Central obesity was associated with asthma, asthma severity, lower lung function, and reduced atopy in asthmatic subjects.

Conclusion: Measures of central obesity are more associated with the presence of asthma and asthma severity in children with allergic rhinitis when compared with standard BMI measures.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anthropometry*
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Obesity / diagnosis*
  • Prevalence
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / epidemiology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / epidemiology
  • Skin Tests
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Waist Circumference