Objective: We aimed to assess elevated birth weight or birth length in relation to allergic diseases at 4 years of age, taking body mass index (BMI) at age 4 as a covariate in the adjustment.
Methods: In a large prospective birth cohort, parents answered questionnaires on environmental factors and allergic symptoms when their children were 2 months, 1, 2 and 4 years old. Perinatal data on weight and length at birth was received from the Child Care Health Centres. At age 4, clinical examination including recordings of height and weight was performed. Blood was drawn for analysis of specific IgE antibodies to common inhalant allergens. Risk associations between birth anthropometric measures and wheeze, allergic diseases or sensitisation were estimated in multivariate logistic regression analyses (n = 2869).
Results: There were no clear overall associations between birth weight and allergic diseases at 4 years. However, birth length ≥ 90th percentile was inversely associated with any wheeze at age 4 (adjusted OR 0.64, 95% CI 0.44-0.92), but only with late-onset wheeze (adjusted OR 0.40, 0.21-0.77). For persistent or transient wheeze, eczema, rhinitis and allergic sensitisation no such associations were seen. Transient wheeze during the first 2 years of age tended to be associated with increased BMI at age 4.
Conclusion: Elevated birth weight was not associated with wheeze or allergic disease. Elevated birth length may play a protective role in late-onset wheeze in early childhood.
- birth anthropometry
- birth cohort
- body mass index