Childhood body mass index and risk of asthma in adolescence: a systematic review

Obes Rev. 2011 Feb;12(2):93-104. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2010.00741.x.


Asthma and obesity, both of which are considered global health issues, affect approximately 300 million individuals worldwide. The observation that asthma and obesity tend to increase in parallel may indicate a potential link between these two conditions. The aim of this systematic review of the literature was to investigate the relationship between childhood nutritional status and incidence or persistence of asthma during adolescence. The principal eligibility criteria for selection of articles were including longitudinal analysis, and which measured of exposure during childhood or adolescence and outcome during adolescence. The systematic search initially returned 1563 unique articles. After inspection of titles and reading the abstracts of these articles, we chose 27 for full reading. Of these, 10 were selected to be included in the present review. Of the 10 selected studies, eight showed positive associations between overweight/obesity and asthma. Of these, two were independent of sex, three were found only among men and another three only among women. The present study shows strong evidence that, although the role of sex is not clear, obesity precedes, and is associated with, the persistence and intensity of symptoms of asthma.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Child
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Sex Factors