Association between obesity and atopic dermatitis in childhood: A case-control study

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder that has been increasing in prevalence throughout the world over the past 30 years. At the same time, the prevalence of obesity has increased by more than double in children and adolescents over the past 30 years. There is increasing evidence that obesity can have numerous effects on the immune system. However, it was unknown how obesity affects atopic dermatitis.

In a study published in the March 2011 issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), Silverberg et al investigated the predisposing effect that obesity in childhood might have toward the development of AD. The authors studied the cases of 414 children and adolescents with AD and 828 healthy kids of similar ages and analyzed information about their weight.

The results found that obesity in children predisposes toward developing AD and increases the severity of AD and the frequency of visits to the doctor for AD. Obesity predisposed toward AD when it occurred up to age 5, and was prolonged for more than 2.5 years. These findings suggest that weight loss in obese children may protect against or improve atopic dermatitis. Increased obesity in children may be a contributing factor in the rising prevalence of AD over the past few decades.


The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) is the official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and is the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.

AAAAI - American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology