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25-10-2011 | Immunology | Article

Obesity may increase risk for atopic dermatitis in adults


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MedWire News: Adults who are obese are at increased risk for atopic dermatitis, study findings suggest.

The results raise the possibility that losing weight could help prevent or ameliorate this skin disease, say Jonathan Silverberg (St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital and Beth Israel Medical Centers, New York, USA) and colleagues.

It is already known that overweight children are at greater risk for allergic skin conditions than their normal-weight counterparts, explains the team in the British Journal of Dermatology.

To investigate whether the same is true in adults, they used the Beth Israel Medical Center database to identify 2090 adult patients who presented to the allergy clinic between 1994 and 2003.

These patients were then divided into normal weight (n=1258), overweight (n=555), and obese (n=277) groups according to body mass indexes of less than 25 kg/m2, 25-29.9 kg/m2, and 30 kg/m2 or higher, respectively.

The researchers found that obese adults were significantly more likely to have atopic dermatitis than patients in the other two groups, at an adjusted odds ratio (aOR) of 1.42. They were also more likely to have atopic asthma than other patients, at an aOR of 1.98.

However, obesity was not associated with an increased risk for non-atopic dermatitis, non-atopic asthma, atopic or non-atopic rhinoconjunctivitis, or food allergies.

The association between obesity and atopic dermatitis remained significant after further adjustment for history of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, and food allergies, at an aOR of 1.40, the researchers note.

"This study provides evidence of an association between obesity and increased atopic dermatitis, suggesting atopic dermatitis as yet another harmful consequence of obesity," conclude Silverberg and team.

"Thus, it is possible that weight loss in adults may prevent or improve atopic dermatitis."

They add: "Future studies should be performed to elucidate the mechanism of association between obesity, inflammation and atopic dermatitis in both children and adults."

By MedWire Reporters

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