There may be yet another reason to reduce childhood obesity - it may help prevent allergies. A new study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology shows that obese children and adolescents are at an increased risk of having some kind of allergy, particularly with food.
In the study, the researchers analyzed data from more than 4,000 children and young adults aged 2-19 years of age. They looked at total and allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) or antibody levels to a large panel of indoor, outdoor and food allergens, body weight, and responses to a questionnaire about diagnoses of hay fever, eczema, and allergies.
Obesity was defined as being in the 95th percentile of the body mass index for the child's age. The researchers found the IgE levels were higher among children who were obese or overweight. Obese children were about 26 percent more likely to have allergies than children of normal weight.
"Given that the prevalence of both obesity and allergic disease has increased among children over the last several decades, it is important to understand and, if possible, prevent these epidemics," said Cynthia M. Visness, lead author of the paper.
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Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences