Being overweight in childhood, puberty, or early adulthood: Changing asthma risk in the next generation?

Johannessen, Ane; Lonnebotn, Marianne; Calciano, Lucia; Benediktsdottir, Bryndis; Bertelsen, Randi Jacobsen; Braback, Lennart; Dharmage, Shyamali; Franklin, Karl A.; Gislason, Thorarinn; Holm, Mathias; Janson, Christer; Jarvis, Deborah; Jogi, Rain; Kim, Jeong-Lim; Kirkeleit, Jorunn; Lodge, Caroline; Malinovschi, Andrei; Martinez-Moratalla, Jesus; Nilsen, Roy Miodini; Pereira-Vega, Antonio; Real, Francisco Gomez; Schlunssen, Vivi; Accordini, Simone; Svanes, Cecilie

VL / 145 - BP / 791 - EP / +
Background: Overweight status and asthma have increased during the last decades. Being overweight is a known risk factor for asthma, but it is not known whether it might also increase asthma risk in the next generation. Objective: We aimed to examine whether parents being overweight in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood is associated with asthma in their offspring. Methods: We included 6347 adult offspring (age, 18-52 years) investigated in the Respiratory Health in Northern Europe, Spain and Australia (RHINESSA) multigeneration study of 2044 fathers and 2549 mothers (age, 37-66 years) investigated in the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) study. Associations of parental overweight status at age 8 years, puberty, and age 30 years with offspring's childhood overweight status (potential mediator) and offspring's asthma with or without nasal allergies (outcomes) was analyzed by using 2-level logistic regression and 2-level multinomial logistic regression, respectively. Counterfactual-based mediation analysis was performed to establish whether observed associations were direct or indirect effects mediated through the offspring's own overweight status. Results: We found statistically significant associations between both fathers' and mothers' childhood overweight status and offspring's childhood overweight status (odds ratio, 2.23 [95% CI, 1.45-3.42] and 2.45 [95% CI, 1.86-3.22], respectively). We also found a statistically significant effect of fathers' onset of being overweight in puberty on offspring's asthma without nasal allergies (relative risk ratio, 2.31 [95% CI, 1.23-4.33]). This effect was direct and not mediated through the offspring's own overweight status. No effect on offspring's asthma with nasal allergies was found. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that metabolic factors long before conception can increase asthma risk and that male puberty is a time window of particular importance for offspring's health.

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