There is a strong association between asthma and obesity among children aged 5 to 12, according to a study conducted after collecting data from health centres under the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC).
The prevalence of obesity among 5 to 12 year-old children was significantly higher among asthmatics (24.9%) compared with non-asthmatic (17.7%). It notes that the positive association between asthma and high BMI was stronger among older children, females and nationals.
Another result of the study is that Asthma significantly increased the risk of being obese by 41% in bivariate analysis. The calculated risk estimate for the association between asthma and obesity increased to 70% after adjusting for the confounding effect of age, gender, and nationality.
The study titled ‘Association between body mass index (BMI) percentile and asthma in children of 5–12 years old: A case–control study using electronic medical records in Primary Health Care Corporation, Qatar 2016–2017’ was published on QScience Connect, an open access, peer-reviewed academic journal from Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press. The study was conducted by Shajitha Thekke Veettil and Ahmed Sameer Alnuaimi from the Clinical Research Department, PHCC.
The study was conducted to calculate the prevalence rate of overweight and obesity among asthmatic children aged 5–12. It also aimed to measure the strength of the association between BMI and asthma in these children after adjusting for age, gender and nationality.
This was a case-control study conducted by collecting the electronic health records of children aged 5–12 who visited one of the primary health care centres during 2016 – 2017. A total of 9,889 children with a diagnosis of asthma and valid BMI measurements were included in the case group, and an identical number of children who visited the health care centres for other reasons and had valid BMI measurements were randomly enroled in the control group.
The study recommends that exercise, though has a minimal impact on lung function in asthmatic children, should still be recommended by healthcare providers. There should be efforts to explore the possible effect of introducing physical exercise as a disease-modifying factor in obese asthmatic children in a school setting, since both obesity and asthma is a public health concern in Qatar.
A total of 12,064 children aged 5–12 years had a diagnosis of asthma during the study period. Of these, only 9,889 had at least one BMI measurement and these participants constituted the case group. The number of total service users in the specific age group and the duration of the study was 196,557, of whom 184,493 were not diagnosed with asthma.
Asthma is one of the most commonly recurring diseases in the world. It is considered as a serious global health problem affecting all age groups. Among children, asthma prevalence is growing in many countries. According to the study, the prevalence of diagnosed asthma among Qatari schoolchildren was 19.8%, which is very close to that reported in Oman (20.7%).
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