A recent study has uncovered a link between childhood and adolescent obesity allergies - with obese children at an increased risk of having some kind of allergy, especially (albeit surprisingly) to a food.
"We found a positive association between obesity and allergies," said Darryl Zeldin, M.D., acting clinical director at National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and senior author on the paper.
"While the results from this study are interesting, they do not prove that obesity causes allergies. More research is needed to further investigate this potential link," Zeldin said.
In this study, researchers analysed data from 4,111 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.
NIEHS researcher Stephanie London, M.D., a co-author on the study, said: "The signal for allergies seemed to be coming mostly from food allergies. The rate of having a food allergy was 59 percent higher for obese children,"
The study has been published in the May issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.