Asthmatic children are likely to be more prone to obesity than the ones not suffering from the issue.

According to a new research conducted by University of Southern California, children suffering from asthma have 51 percent chances of becoming obese in the next 10 years when compared to kids who do not suffer from the ailment.

The study also suggests that kids who use inhalers while having an asthma attack could lower their chances of becoming obese to 43 percent.

"Early diagnosis and treatment of asthma may help prevent the childhood obesity epidemic. Our results also suggest that asthma inhalers may help prevent obesity in children," said Frank Gilliland, senior author of the study.

However, Gilliland noted that this hypothesis needs more research and it is interesting that a link existed regardless of the use of asthma medication or any physical activity.

The professor further added that there could be the possibility of asthma and obesity negatively affecting each other.

The Research

The USC researchers monitored the records of nearly 2,171 kindergarteners and also first graders from Southern California, who were not obese during the time of enrollment to Children's Health Study. Out of these kids, 13.5 percent suffered from asthma when they joined the study.

The researchers observed the students for nearly a decade. Further analysis threw up that 15.8 percent of the kids ended up becoming obese. To test their hypothesis further, the scientists used a new group of kids in the fourth grade and followed them up till they graduated from high school.

While analyzing two decades of data, it has been discovered that air pollution is instrumental in increasing obesity. A less number of kids in Southern California suffer from bronchitis due to the decreasing pollution level in that particular area.

The study also shares that British children in the age group 10 and 11 are more likely to suffer from obesity. Among them, one in 11 is prescribed inhalers along with breathing problem medicines.

"Asthma and obesity often occur together in children, but it is unclear whether children with asthma are at higher risk for onset of obesity or whether obese children develop asthma, or both," noted Dr. Zhanghua Chen, who led the research.

Parents were given questionnaires on history of respiratory illness, socio-demographic factors, smoking habits at home, physical activity patterns, and more.

The children who had a BMI of 95 percentile or more, when compared to the parameters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were labeled obese.

It must be noted, that the researchers of the study had limited information about exercise and did not gather any data on the students' diet.

The study has been published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine on Jan. 20.

Photo: Emilio Labrador | Flickr

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