Children born with low birth weight are at a higher risk of developing asthma later in life, says a new study.
The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, is based on data on the incidence of asthma in 10,918 twins from the Swedish Twin Registry.
Questionnaire data on asthma in 9- and 12- year old twins was linked to the national Swedish Medical Birth Registry which records, amongst other data, birth weight and gestational age (i.e. how long into the pregnancy the baby is born). Since twins have the same gestational age and share DNA, uterine environment and conditions of early infancy, twin studies are an excellent way to examine the relationship between foetal growth and childhood disease.
"Our study shows that there's a distinct correlation between foetal growth and asthma that's independent of gestational age and environmental or genetic factors," says Catarina Almqvist Malmros, paediatrician and Assistant professor at the Department of medical epidemiology and biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet.