A study published on Tuesday suggests that asthma can be caused, in part, by excess weight in childhood. According to the authors of the survey, it is possible that the current epidemic of childhood obesity help explain the increase of the prevalence of asthma in recent years. The Sociedade Brasileira de Pneumologia e Tisiologia estimates that 20 million Brazilians are asthmatics.
The new survey, conducted at the University of Bristol, Great Britain, examined the relationship between body mass index (BMI) of 4,835 children of seven years on average, with the prevalence of asthma. The authors also observed the DNA of these children, specifically looking for genetic variants associated with the disease 32.
The findings, published in the journal Plos Medicine, indicated that the higher the child’s BMI, the higher the risk she had asthma. Each point in the IMC regarded as ideal for children (i.e. up to 25), for example, was associated with a 55% greater chance of illness. The study also found a strong relationship between high BMI, greater risk of asthma and more genetic variants associated with the disease.
The survey, however, did not identify how obesity can lead to asthma. Even so, the authors suggest that public health interventions to combat obesity can help contain the increasing cases of asthma in the world. “Environmental influences on the development of asthma in childhood have been a topic widely studied in epidemiological research, but few provide evidence of causality”, wrote the researchers in the article.