Studies have reported the effect of body weight in early childhood on asthma. However, the effect of growth patterns during school age on asthma and rhinitis has yet to be explored. We sought to investigate whether various growth patterns predict incident asthma and rhinitis.We conducted a nationwide longitudinal study (Taiwan Children Health Study) in 14 Taiwanese communities. Body mass index (BMI) z-scores of 4422 children aged 6-11 years were collected annually and distinct growth trajectory classes were identified using a latent generalised mixture model. Pulmonary function and exhaled nitric oxide fraction (FeNO) levels were also measured. Whether different growth trajectory classes predict incident asthma and rhinitis at age 12, 15 and 18 years was determined using a discrete time hazard model.Four growth trajectory classes were identified. Persistently overweight children exhibited significantly increased risks of asthma and rhinitis at age 12 years. Furthermore, being persistently overweight had a long-term effect on incident asthma (hazard ratio 2.47, 95% CI 1.18-5.12) and rhinitis (hazard ratio 1.44, 95% CI 1.12-1.84) in adolescence and early adulthood. Children in high BMI classes exhibited significantly lower pulmonary functions compared with normal growth children. FeNO levels were lower in children in the high BMI classes and higher in children showing declining obesity compared with normal growth children.Persistently overweight children exhibited incident asthma and rhinitis in adolescence and early adulthood.
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