ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
More Faces Being Spared in Motor Vehicle Accidents
High Birth Weight Doubles Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
CANCER
Papaya Could Be a Cancer Fighter
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Adding Garlic Might Cut Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
Medication Errors Could Be Cut: Experts
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
DIABETES
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Pesticides and How to Affordably Eat Organic or Reduce Pesticide Consumption
Coffee or Tea Consumption May Lower Stroke Risk
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Fish in U.S. Rivers Tainted With Common Medications
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
Hurricane Threats: Time to Batten Down the Hatches
EYE CARE, VISION
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
Hybrid Cars Pose Risk to Blind, Visually Impaired
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
FITNESS
Any Exercise Good After a Heart Attack
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
Living With Less TV, More Sweat Boosts Weight Loss
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Parents Influence Sex Decisions, Hispanic Teens Say
Why Am I So Tired? Could It Be Low Thyroid?
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Frequent Feedings May Be Making Babies Fat
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
SENIORS
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
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Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, May 19 (HealthDay News) -- A mother's weight may have lasting effects not just on her own health but on the respiratory health of her children as well.

"Children with asthmatic parents are at an increased risk of asthma if the mother is overweight before pregnancy," said H.A. Smit, head of the department of prevention and health services research at the National Institute of Public Health and Environment in the Netherlands.

In fact, Smith and his fellow researchers found that the risk of asthma is 65 percent higher among the offspring of overweight mothers if one or both of the child's parents have a history of the disease.

Smit was to present the findings Tuesday at the American Thoracic Society's annual meeting in San Diego.

As many as 20 million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma, about 9 million of them children, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Despite advances in treatment, asthma is still responsible for about 5,000 deaths each year in the United States, it says.

Not all children born to parents with asthma go on to develop the airway disease. That happens about 40 percent of the time, the academy reports.

Because the exact causes of asthma are not clear, researchers have looked at a number of factors that might contribute to its development, including maternal smoking, the child's environment and more.

Smit's study sought to assess whether a mother's weight before pregnancy could affect a child's risk for asthma. The study included nearly 4,000 children, who were followed from birth to 8 years of age.

The mothers in the study averaged 30 years old, and almost 21 percent were overweight -- which the researchers defined as have a body mass index higher than 25 -- before becoming pregnant.

Children were considered to have asthma if their parents reported that they'd had at least one attack of wheezing or shortness of breath or had needed inhaled corticosteroids in the previous year. About 14 percent of the children had asthma by age 8.

The researchers adjusted the data to account for confounding factors, such as maternal education, mode of delivery, maternal smoking during pregnancy, duration of breast-feeding, birth weight and the child's current weight, according to Smit.

Although they found no association between maternal weight in children born to parents without asthma, children born to parents with asthma who also had an overweight mother had a 65 percent increased risk of developing asthma.

Though the study was not designed to determine why being overweight might affect a child's risk for asthma, Smit theorized that inflammation could be the connection between the conditions. That's because obesity can encourage inflammation, and inflammation is at the root of asthma.

Dr. Jennifer Appleyard, chief of allergy and immunology at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, said that "we don't know exactly what causes or contributes to asthma, but it does look like there are some things that occur in utero that could affect the child later."

But, she said, it may not be the fact that mothers are overweight. It could be something that they're eating that's affecting their children. It's just not clear from this study, she said, adding that that more research needs to be done.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more on the causes of asthma.



SOURCES: H.A. Smit, Ph.D., head, Department of Prevention and Health Services Research, National Institute of Public Health and Environment, Bilthoven, the Netherlands; Jennifer Appleyard, M.D., chief, allergy and immunology, St. John Hospital and Medical Center, Detroit; May 19, 2009, presentation, 105th International Conference, American Thoracic Society, San Diego

Last Updated: May 19, 2009

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