Efforts to address obesity in pediatric patients with asthma should continue with a specific focus on achieving improved baseline control and a better understanding of triggers, according to study results published in the Journal of Asthma.

Although the mechanisms behind the common co-occurrence of asthma and obesity are not completely understood, heavier children tend to have more severe asthma, poorer asthma control, more frequent exacerbations, greater likelihood of hospital admission, and poorer response to therapy.

Therefore, researchers retrospectively analyzed data from 874 children hospitalized for asthma exacerbation across 6 hospitals in Ohio between 2012 and 2013.1 An increase in body mass index (BMI) z score was associated with longer physiologic readiness for discharge (P =.008); an increase in one unit of BMI z score had an 0.04 hour increase in time to physiologic readiness for discharge. The researchers noted that this increase was unlikely to be significant for individual patients, but could be so when considered cumulatively.  

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Children who were overweight or obese were more likely than children who were not to require nonstandard care with repeat magnesium dosing in intensive care after dosing in the emergency department. In addition, hospitalization in the year prior to enrollment was positively associated with BMI percentile (P =.028) as well as with sleep-disordered breathing (P =.0013).

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The researchers stressed that future studies should focus on why children who are overweight and obese are treated with magnesium and should evaluate the benefits and risks of such treatment.


Schuler CL, Biagini Myers JM, Kercsmar CM, et al. Weighing in on asthma: insights on BMI, magnesium, and hospitalizations from the Ohio Pediatric Asthma Repository [published online August 14, 2019]. J Asthma. doi:10.1080/02770903.2019.1652639

This article originally appeared on Pulmonology Advisor