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Asthma is a multifactorial syndrome that threatens the health of children. Body mass index (BMI) might be one of the potential factors but the evidence is controversial. The aim of this study is to perform a comprehensive meta-analysis to investigate the association between asthma and BMI.
Electronic databases including, Web of Science, Pubmed, Scopus, Science Direct, ProQuest, up to April 2017, were searched by two researchers independently. The keywords “asthma, body mass index, obesity, overweight, childhood and adolescence” were used. Random and fixed effects models were applied to obtain the overall odds ratios (ORs) and standardized mean difference (SMD). Heterogeneity between the studies was examined using I2 and Cochrane Q statistics.
After reviewing 2511 articles, 16 studies were eligible for meta-analysis according to inclusion/exclusion criteria. A meta-analysis from 11 case-control studies revealed OR of asthma and overweight as OR = 1.64; (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 1.13–2.38) and from 14 case-control studies, OR for asthma and obesity was OR = 1.92 (95% CI: 1.39–2.65), which indicated that risk of asthma in overweight and obese children and adolescence was significantly higher (1.64 and 1.92 times) than that of individuals with (p-value < 0.01 for underweight/normal weight in both cases). Furthermore, there was a significant relationship between asthma and BMI > 85 percentile according to SMD SMD = 0.21; (95%CI: 0.03–0.38; p-value = 0.021).
The results showed a significant relationship between BMI (obesity/overweight) and asthma among children and adolescents. It is important to study the confounding factors that affect the relationship between asthma and BMI in future epidemiological researches.