Influence of childhood growth on asthma and lung function in adolescence

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015 Jun;135(6):1435-43.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2014.10.046. Epub 2015 Jan 8.


Background: Low birth weight and rapid infant growth in early infancy are associated with increased risk of childhood asthma, but little is known about the role of postinfancy growth in asthmatic children.

Objectives: We sought to examine the associations of children's growth patterns with asthma, bronchial responsiveness, and lung function until adolescence.

Methods: Individual growth trajectories from birth until 10 years of age were estimated by using linear spline multilevel models for 9723 children participating in a population-based prospective cohort study. Current asthma at 8, 14, and 17 years of age was based on questionnaires. Lung function and bronchial responsiveness or reversibility were measured during clinic visits at 8 and 15 years of age.

Results: Rapid weight growth between 0 and 3 months of age was most consistently associated with increased risks of current asthma at the ages of 8 and 17 years, bronchial responsiveness at age 8 years, and bronchial reversibility at age 15 years. Rapid weight growth was associated with lung function values, with the strongest associations for weight gain between 3 and 7 years of age and higher forced vital capacity (FVC) and FEV1 values at age 15 years (0.12 [95% CI, 0.08 to 0.17] and 0.11 [95% CI, 0.07 to 0.15], z score per SD, respectively) and weight growth between 0 and 3 months of age and lower FEV1/FVC ratios at age 8 and 15 years (-0.13 [95% CI, -0.16 to -0.10] and -0.04 [95% CI, -0.07 to -0.01], z score per SD, respectively). Rapid length growth was associated with lower FVC and FVC1 values at age 15 years.

Conclusion: Faster weight growth in early childhood is associated with asthma and bronchial hyperresponsiveness, and faster weight growth across childhood is associated with higher FVC and FEV1 values.

Keywords: ALSPAC; asthma; cohort study; growth; lung function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / diagnosis*
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology
  • Growth Charts
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Weight Gain*