The growth of children in the first three years of their life affects the development of their lungs and the risk of asthma at 10 years of age, says a study. According to recent studies, excessive weight gain in the first years of life can be associated with lower lung function and a higher risk of childhood asthma.
The new study, led by Erasmus University in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, showed that the infants with the highest weight gain velocity and body mass index had lower lung function at 10 years of age. Specifically, these children had a lower function related to the smaller airways in relation to their total lung volume. The study also found that “the later the children reached their peak body mass index, the better their lung function and, in the case of boys, the lower the risk of asthma”, said lead author Maribel Casas, researcher at the varsity. “These results confirm that early childhood growth plays an important role in lung development,” Casas added.
Although no relationship between height and weight growth and the risk of asthma was observed, this disproportionate development of lung function could be a risk factor for the development of respiratory disease, the researchers said. For the study, published in the journal Thorax, the team tracked 4,435 children in the Netherlands from birth until 10 years of age. The participants’ weight and height were measured multiple times during the first three years of life.
The team examined whether early childhood growth patterns — ascertained by taking repeated weight and height measurements during the first three years of the child’s life — affected respiratory health at the age of 10 years.