ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Needling Away Your Headaches With Acupuncture
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Soybean Chemicals May Reduce Effects of Menopause
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Fall Sports Peak Time for Lower Leg Damage
A Winning Strategy to Beat Spring Sporting Injuries
'Snowbirds' Beware the Climate Changes
CANCER
Multiple Screening Strategy Boosts Cervical Cancer Detection
Antioxidants Pose No Melanoma Threat
Seaweed May Help Treat Lymphoma
CAREGIVING
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
Diabetes Epidemic Now Poses Challenges for Nursing Homes
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
DIET, NUTRITION
Atkins Diet Tougher on Heart After Weight Loss
Fatty Acid in Olive Oil Wards Off Hunger
Even in 'Last Supper,' Portion Sizes Have Grown
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
As Earth Warms, Lyme Disease Could Flourish
Sunken, Unexploded Bombs Pose Cancer Risk
Old-Growth Forests Dying Off in U.S. West
EYE CARE, VISION
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
FITNESS
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Walking Golf Course Affects Swing, Performance
Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Living With Less TV, More Sweat Boosts Weight Loss
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Coconut Oil May Help Fight Childhood Pneumonia
Treat Kids to a Safe Halloween
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
MEN'S HEALTH
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
MENTAL HEALTH
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
SENIORS
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
Add your Article

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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