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11-04-2013 | Respiratory | Article

Pre-pregnancy adiposity linked to transient wheeze in children

Abstract

Free abstract

medwireNews: Results from a UK study show that greater pre-pregnancy maternal body mass index (BMI) and fat mass are associated with an increased risk for transient wheeze in children.

However, the researchers found no significant association between pre-pregnancy maternal adiposity and persistent wheeze or asthma in children.

"The positive association between maternal adiposity and transient wheeze is unique to this study, as no other study has assessed longitudinal wheeze phenotypes," comment Graham Roberts (University of Southampton Faculty of Medicine) and team.

The researchers studied data on 940 women, and their children, who participated in the Southampton Women's Survey. Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI and fat mass measurements were available for 930 and 927 of these women, respectively.

The children were assessed for adiposity gain during the first 6 months of life, and for wheeze and asthma up to the age of 6 years. They also underwent skin prick tests for atopy and lung function measurements (spirometry) at the age of 6 years.

The researchers found that greater pre-pregnancy adiposity was significantly associated with an increased risk for transient infant wheeze (wheeze up to the age of 3 years, but no wheeze or asthma treatment at 6 years).

Indeed, each 5 kg/m2 increase in pre-pregnancy BMI was associated with a 1.11-fold increase in the relative risk for transient infant wheeze, and each 10 kg increase in fat mass was associated with a 1.13-fold increase.

There was no significant association between pre-pregnancy BMI or fat mass and persistent wheeze or asthma (wheeze up to the age of 3 years plus wheeze or asthma treatment at 6 years).

There was also no significant association between pre-pregnancy adiposity and childhood atopy, lung function, or exhaled nitric oxide levels at the age of 6 years.

The researchers note that the association between maternal adiposity and transient infant wheeze remained after adjustment for infant adiposity gain in early life and BMI at the ages of 3 and 6 years.

Roberts et al conclude in Thorax: "Greater maternal adiposity is associated with transient wheeze but not asthma or atopy, suggesting effects upon airway structure/function but not allergic predisposition."

They add that the findings may have "potentially important public health implications, since individuals who wheeze in infancy more commonly develop chronic obstructive airways disease as adults."

medwireNews (www.medwirenews.com) is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2013

By Mark Cowen, Senior medwireNews Reporter

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