Kids with high levels of body fat and lower levels of physical activity are at an increased risk of developing asthma, says a new study.
The research team led by Sara Rosenkranz, doctoral student in human nutrition, Manhattan found that healthy children with higher levels of body fat and lower levels of physical activity had greater amounts of airway narrowing after exercise.
"Kids who are overweight and inactive are having, even at the age of 8 to 10 years old, a negative response to exercise challenge tests, which might be contributing to the increase that we've been seeing over the past several decades in asthma prevalence as well as obesity prevalence," said Rosenkranz.
The study involved 40 children from 8 to10 years. All children were healthy, meaning none of took medication or had a diagnoses or history of acute or chronic disease, including asthma.
The researchers found that the higher the body fat and the lower the level of activity of the child, the more likely they were to have asthma-like symptoms following exercise.
"It was pretty interesting. There's that whole idea that it's possible to be fit and fat in adults, but that really hasn't been looked at closely in kids," Rosenkranz said. "That's what spurred the idea for this research."
For many of the students that had higher levels of body fat and lower levels of activity it is possible that they had the early stages of asthma and they didn't know it.
"They might not know it because they might not be doing anything that could ever trigger it," she said.