Objective: There have been many publications looking at the association between asthma and obesity in school aged children and adolescents. There have been few studies looking at the association in preschool children.
Methods: Questionnaire data on 1509 4- to 5-year-old children were collected in 2006 from the state of South Australia, Australia. The prevalence of asthma symptoms, allergic rhinitis and eczema was ascertained using the International Study of Asthma and Allergy in Childhood (ISAAC) questionnaire. Body mass index was calculated from height and weight data and prevalence of obesity was defined using the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) definitions.
Results: The prevalence of wheeze in the last 12 months in the preschool population was 23.7%. In the cohort, 199 (13.7%) children were classified as overweight and 83 (5.7%) children were classified as obese. A significant relationship was identified between "wheeze in the last 12 months" (p <.01), "wheeze ever" (p <.001) and "asthma ever" (p <.001) with the trend towards obesity. The relationship was significant for both male and female sex with the exception of "wheeze in the last 12 months" in obese females. (p = 0.09).
Conclusion: There is an association between asthma symptoms and obesity in preschool children. The relationship is evident for both male and female sex.