Burden of obesity on children with asthma in the US


Published Online: June 30, 2016

Asthma and obesity are the most common chronic illness and public health problems of children in the United States. The prevalence of obesity is increasing, and several studies have demonstrated an association between obesity and asthma in children. Little is known of the effects of obesity on the use of mechanical ventilation, length of hospital stay, and charges for inpatient service for children hospitalized with asthma exacerbation.

In a recent study published in  The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, Okubo and colleagues conducted a retrospective study comprising hospitalized patients with asthma exacerbation aged between 2 and 18 years based on a national representative database (KID) for the year 2012.   The outcomes of interest were total charge for inpatient service in 2012 US dollars, length of hospital stay, and use of mechanical ventilation (non-invasive or invasive).

Obesity was significantly associated with higher odds of using mechanical ventilation (OR 1.59, 95%CI 1.28−1.99), higher mean total hospital charges (adjusted difference: $1,588, 95%CI $802−$2,529), and longer mean length of hospital stay (0.24 days, 95%CI 0.17−0.32 days) compared with non-obesity.

In summary, obesity was significantly associated with severity for pediatric inpatients with asthma exacerbation as demonstrated by increased risk for ventilation, length of hospital stay, and hospital charges. Our analysis indicated a gap of incremental hospital charges between obese and non-obese asthma inpatients. These findings illustrate the importance of the prevention of obesity for both clinicians and healthcare payers.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice is an official journal of the AAAAI, focusing on practical information for the practicing clinician.

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