A meta-analysis was performed on unpublished data from three North-European paediatric asthma cohorts (BREATHE, PACMAN (Pharmacogenetics of Asthma medication in Children: Medication with Anti-inflammatory effects) and PAGES (Pediatric Asthma Gene Environment Study)) and 11 previously published studies (cross-sectional and longitudinal studies). Outcomes were poor asthma control (based on asthma symptoms) and exacerbations rates (asthma-related visits to the emergency department, asthma-related hospitalisations or use of oral corticosteroids). Overall pooled estimates of the odds ratios were obtained using fixed- or random-effects models.
In a meta-analysis of 46 070 asthmatic children and adolescents, obese children (body mass index ≥95th percentile) compared with non-obese peers had a small but significant increased risk of asthma exacerbations (OR 1.17, 95% CI 1.03–1.34; I2: 54.7%). However, there was no statistically significant association between obesity and poor asthma control (n=4973, OR 1.23, 95% CI 0.99–1.53; I2: 0.0%). After stratification for sex, the differences in odds ratios for girls and boys were similar, yet no longer statistically significant.
In asthmatic children, obesity is associated with a minor increased risk of asthma exacerbations but not with poor asthma control. Sex does not appear to modify this risk.
- body mass index
- asthma severity