Objective: To investigate the relationship between asthma and obesity in children and adolescents.
Design: Medical record review.
Setting: Urban community health center.
Participants: One hundred seventy-one children aged 4 to 16 years, 85 with asthma and 86 nonasthmatic controls.
Main outcome measures: Diagnosis of asthma, age, and sex-adjusted body mass index (weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters).
Results: Seventy-eight percent of the sample was Hispanic, 17% was African American, 2% were white, and 3% were other minorities. There were significantly more children with asthma (30.6%) who were very obese (> or =95th body mass index percentile) compared with controls (11.6%) (P=.004). Children with asthma were also significantly more overweight than controls (mean+/-SD, 22.5%+/-28.3% vs 12.0%+/-19.6% overweight; P=.004). The difference in obesity between children with asthma and controls was significant for both sexes and across the 4.5 to 10.9 years and 11 to 16 years age groups. Asthma severity was not related to obesity.
Conclusion: Asthma is a risk factor for obesity in children and adolescents.