Association between obesity and atopy in adults

Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2010;153(4):372-7. doi: 10.1159/000316348. Epub 2010 Jun 17.


Background/aim: Previous literature on the association between obesity and atopy has been inconsistent. The aim of the study was to determine the relationship between obesity and atopic sensitization in adults.

Methods: The study included a total of 1,997 residents aged 18-79 years and was conducted in the town of Humboldt, Sask., Canada in 2003. Body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) were objectively measured. Allergy skin tests were conducted to determine atopic sensitization.

Results: Overall, the prevalence of one or more positive skin tests for atopy was 33.3% among those with a BMI of at least 30.0, 28.2% among those with a BMI of 25.0-29.9 and 27.3% among those with a BMI of less than 25 (p = 0.003). The odds ratio for atopy among those with a BMI of at least 30.0 versus those with a BMI of less than 25.0 was 1.51 (95% confidence interval, CI: 1.17, 1.95) after adjustment for sex, age, and other covariates. Stratified by sex, the adjusted odds ratios for obesity versus normal weight were 1.27 (95% CI: 0.73, 1.93) for men and 1.63 (95% CI: 1.18, 2.26) for women. WC was also significantly associated with the prevalence of atopy in both sexes after controlling for covariates.

Conclusion: The data demonstrated a significant association between obesity, defined either by BMI or by WC, and atopy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Canada
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / diagnosis
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / epidemiology*
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / pathology
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors
  • Skin Tests
  • Waist Circumference