WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- Low birth weight is not associated with asthma risk in young children, according to a new study released Tuesday in the January issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).
"Asthma is the most common chronic illness in childhood and is a leading reason for missed school days," said allergist Hyeon Yang, lead study author. "While environment, genetics, and their interaction are thought to increase one's risk of developing asthma, we now should not assume that low birth weight is associated with asthma. This is an important finding as we continue to understand who is at risk for asthma and why."
Researchers examined a group of children born between January 1, 1976, and December 31, 1979, in Rochester, Minnesota. A total of 3, 740 children in the study were born with normal birth weight and 193 children with low birth weight. Of the 193 children born at a low weight, only 13 (6.7 percent) developed asthma, and 201 of the 3,740 children born at a normal weight (5.4 percent) developed the disease.
The study concluded that birth weight did not have any association with a child developing asthma within the first six years of life.
Asthma is a serious condition that affects more than 25.7 million Americans, and is responsible for nearly 4,000 deaths annually. According to the ACAAI, asthma can occur at any age but is more common in children than adults. In young children, boys are nearly twice as likely as girls to develop asthma. Although birth weight is not associated with asthma, obesity is a recently identified risk factor.
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