Like obesity, the prevalence of asthma has increased over the past several decades. Accelerated patterns of infant growth have been associated with obesity and its co-morbidities. We aimed to determine if infant weight gain pattern is associated with asthma development later in childhood. Birth weight, growth, pulmonary function, and symptom data were collected in a trial of 2- to 3-yr-old children at-risk for asthma randomized to a 2-yr treatment with inhaled corticosteroids or placebo followed by a 1-yr observation period of study medication. Patterns of infant weight gain between birth and study enrollment were categorized as accelerated, average, or decelerated. Regression analyses were used to test the effects of infant weight gain pattern prior to study enrollment on outcomes during the observation year and at study conclusion while adjusting for demographics, baseline symptom severity, study treatment, and atopic indicators. Among the 197 study participants, early life weight gain pattern was not associated with daily asthma symptoms or lung function at the study's conclusion. However, both prednisone courses (p = 0.01) and urgent physician visits (p < 0.001) were significantly associated with weight gain pattern with fewer exacerbations occurring amongst those with a decelerated weight gain pattern. We conclude that early life patterns of weight change were associated with subsequent asthma exacerbations, but were not associated with asthma symptoms or pulmonary function during the pre-school years for these children at-risk for asthma.
(c) 2009 John Wiley & Sons A/S