The Association Between Obesity and Asthma in Children

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Pei-Ching Liu, MSN, RN
Department of Nursing, MacKay Medicine, Nursing and Management Junior College, Taipei, Taiwan
Bih-Shya Gau, PhD
Department of nursing, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan


The simultaneous increase in asthma and obesity prevalence has been widely discussed in past twenty worldwide. However, the research finding is still inconsistent and scanty in Taiwan. Therefore, this study was conducted to explore the relationship between obesity and asthma in Taiwanese children.


A cross-sectional study was conducted in National Taiwan University Hospital in Taiwan from December 2009 till December 2011. Children with diagnosed asthma were recruited. Demographic data, asthma history, diet pattern and daily activity were recorded through questionnaires.  Each child‘s current weight and height were measured to acquire their age- and gender-adjusted BMI values. Asthma control level was defined by a summary score from the Children Asthma Control Test (C-ACT). The food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) was adopted to evaluate children diet pattern.


94 children with asthma were recruited.  Higher BMI was correlated with a worse C-ACT score (OR 1.15, 95% CI 0.99 to 1.37).  A more frequent intake of hamburger, oily snacks, sweetened drinks and chocolate or candies was associated with the worse asthma control (OR 1.85, 95% CI 0.89 to 3.99). In addition, children from lower SES (OR 4.66, 95% CI 1.43 to 16.22) and born with mothers in older ages (OR 1.14, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.31) suffered from worse asthma control. On the other side, children had better asthma control if parents reported that the doctor had ever encouraged their children to engage in more physical activities (p<0.02).


Higher BMI is correlated with a worse asthma control among children with asthma in Taiwan.  A more intake of unhealthy food may also contribute to their asthma severity.  Children with both epidemics form a unique group and should receive specific care.