Birthweight and the risk of atopic diseases: the ISAAC Phase III study

Mitchell EA, Clayton T, García-Marcos L, Pearce N, Foliaki, S, Wong G

Background: The association between birthweight and asthma, eczema and rhinoconjunctivitis is conflicting.

Objectives: To examine the association between birthweight and symptoms of asthma, eczema andrhinoconjunctivitis.

Methods: Parents or guardians of children aged 6-7 yr completed written questionnaires about symptoms of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema, and several risk factors, includingbirthweight.

Results: There were 162,324 children from 60 centres in 26 countries. Low birthweight (<2.5 kg) was associated with an increased risk of symptoms of asthma (current wheeze odds ratio = 1.20; 95% confidence interval = 1.12-1.30). Low birthweight was associated with a lower risk of eczema ever. Low birthweight was not associated with rhinoconjunctivitis. Large babies (birthweight ?4.5 kg) were not associated with any of these outcomes.

Conclusions: This study has confirmed that low birthweight is a risk factor for symptoms of asthma, but not for rhinoconjunctivitis. The findings for eczema are equivocal.

Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2014; 25(3):264-270

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