ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
A Little Drink May Be Good for Your Bones
New Clues to How Fish Oils Help Arthritis Patients
Majority of College Students Report Backpack-Related Pain
CANCER
Sharing Cancer Info May Be Empowering
Adding Garlic Might Cut Cancer Risk
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
CAREGIVING
Bariatric Surgery Centers Don't Deliver Better Outcomes
Are Hospital Mobile Phones Dialing Up Superbugs?
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
DIABETES
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Trans-Fat Ban In New York City Is Proving successful
Compound in Berries May Lessen Sun Damage
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Chemicals in Carpets, Non-Stick Pans Tied to Thyroid Disease
Green Areas Lower Health Inequities Between Rich, Poor
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
EYE CARE, VISION
Time Teaches Brain to Recognize Objects
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
Just Like Skin, Eyes Can 'Burn' in Strong Sun
FITNESS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Seniors Who Exercise Help Their Health
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
Tune Up Your Health With Music
Parents Influence Sex Decisions, Hispanic Teens Say
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Coffee Is Generally Heart-Friendly
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Boosting Kids' Stroke IQ May Save Lives
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
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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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