Objective: Low birth weight (LBW) has been shown to be an independent risk factor for asthma. We hypothesized that LBW would have its greatest impact on early onset disease. Methods: A racially diverse cohort of children born from 1983 to 1985 at two hospitals, one urban and one suburban in the same metropolitan area, and oversampled for babies weighing ≤2500 g, was identified retrospectively when the children were 6 years of age and followed periodically. At the age 17 years study visit, cohort members and their parent/guardians were separately interviewed face-to-face regarding the subjects history of asthma using the standardized ISAAC questionnaire. We measured the cumulative incidence of asthma from birth through adolescence defined by age of diagnosis and persistence/remittance. Results: Six-hundred and eighty teens (82.6% of the original cohort) were included in the analyses, 387 with LBW and 293 of normal birth weight. The prevalence of physician-diagnosed "Current Asthma" was associated with LBW (p = 0.003 for trend), with patterns stronger in males and whites. LBW was associated most strongly with Late Onset Persistent asthma (current asthma that was diagnosed after 8 years); p for trend 0.032. This trend was again most evident in males and whites. None of the asthma categories classified as "remittent" were statistically associated with LBW. Conclusions: LBW was not associated with diagnosed asthma that remitted before age 17 years. LBW was associated with asthma diagnosis in mid-childhood that persisted through adolescence, suggesting that the asthmagenic effects of LBW can become evident post the early years of childhood and persist into adulthood.
- Age of onset
- Cumulative incidence
- Life course epidemiology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine