News: Higher asthma risk in children of overweight mothers

June 1, 2009

Asthmatic women are more likely to have asthmatic children if they were overweight before becoming pregnant.

Asthmatic women are more likely to have asthmatic children if they were overweight before becoming pregnant, and mothers who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have children who smoke, according to two studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Thoracic Society, held from May 15 to 20 in San Diego.

In the first study, Jet A. Smit, PhD, from the National Institute of Public Health and Environment in Bilthoven, Netherlands, and colleagues examined the association between maternal overweight before pregnancy (body mass index above 25 kg/m2) and the development of asthma in the offspring, using data from 3,963 children. At 8 years of age, they found that having an overweight mother increased the child's risk of having asthma (OR, 1.65, after adjusting for confounding factors), but only for children of asthmatic parents.

In the second study, Roni Grad, MD, and colleagues from the University of Arizona in Tucson examined the association between maternal smoking during pregnancy and active smoking in their offspring, using data from 826 parent-offspring groupings. They found that offspring of mothers who smoked during pregnancy and stopped smoking during the toddler years were more likely to smoke at 22 years of age (OR, 4.1, after adjusting for confounding factors). The risk was approximately halved in mothers who smoked only after pregnancy and in mothers who smoked during pregnancy and continued to smoke.

Smit HA, Scholtens S, Wijga AH, et al. Maternal Overweight before Pregnancy and Asthma in Offspring Followed for 8 Years. Abstract 5389. http://www.call4abstracts.com/ats/society_admin/abs_preview.php?absnum=5389/.

Grad R, Stern DA, Wright AL, et al. Maternal Smoking during Pregnancy Is an Independent Risk Factor for Smoking in Their Offspring at Age 22. Abstract 19 http://www.call4abstracts.com/ats/society_admin/abs_preview.php?absnum=19/.

For more information on American Thoracic Society Meeting, link to http://www.thoracic.org/sections/meetings-and-courses/international-conference/2009/index.html.