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Is large birth weight associated with asthma risk in early childhood?


Objective To determine the association between large birth weight and the risk of developing asthma in early childhood.

Methods All single live births (n=687 194) born in Ontario between 1 April 1995 and 31 March 2001 were followed until their sixth birthday. Their birth weight was categorised as low (<2.5 kg), normal (2.5–4.5 kg), large (4.6–6.5 kg) or extremely large (>6.5 kg). Poisson regression analysis was used.

Results Compared with normal-birth-weight infants, large-birth-weight infants (2.3% of total) had a slightly lower risk of developing asthma by age 6 after adjusting for confounders (adjusted RR 0.90, 95% CI 0.86 to 0.93). There was a trend towards increased risk of asthma among extremely large-birth-weight infants (RR 1.21, 95% CI 0.67 to 2.19).

Conclusions Contrary to previous reports, large birth weight was associated with a lower risk for asthma. Instead, a trend towards increased risk of asthma was observed among extremely large-birth-weight infants and interventions to reduce the incidence of extreme large birth weight may help reduce the risk of asthma.

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