Korean J Fam Med.  2009 Apr;30(4):269-276. 10.4082/kjfm.2009.30.4.269.

The Relation of Overweight to Asthma and Other Allergic Diseases in High School Students in Korea

  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Inje University Sanggye Paik Hospital, Seoul, Korea. syoo@paik.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, Inje University Sanggye Paik Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Pediatrics, Gangneung Asan Hospital, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Gangueung, Korea.
  • 4Department of Pediatrics, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 5Department of Pediatrics, Ulsan University Hospital, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Ulsan, Korea.
  • 6Hangang Sacred Heart Hospital, College of Medicine, Hallym University, Seoul, Korea.


The worldwide prevalence of obesity and allergic diseases has increased. We aimed to explore the relation of overweight to asthma, atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis in a sample of Korean adolescents. METHODS: We investigated the prevalence of symptoms of asthma and other allergic diseases by using a modified International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) questionnaire. The survey was conducted among 1,499 high school students in 3 regions of Korea. RESULTS: The lifetime prevalence of wheezing (21.2% vs. 15.7%, P = 0.04), the 12 months-prevalence of wheezing (4.5% vs. 2.0%, P = 0.04), exercise induced wheezing (13.8% vs. 9.3%, P = 0.04), treatment of asthma (3.3% vs. 1.1%, P = 0.01) and the prevalence of symptoms of allergic rhinitis (11.0% vs. 5.1%, P = 0.001) were signifi cantly higher in overweight boys than normal weight boys, but not in girls. However, there were no signifi cant differences of the prevalence of symptoms and past history of atopic dermatitis and allergic conjunctivitis between overweight and normal weight groups. In boys, overweight increased the risk of the lifetime prevalence of wheezing (OR 1.54, 95% CI: 1.05-2.24) and 12 months-prevalence of exercise induced wheezing (OR 1.64, 95% CI: 1.05-2.55) after adjusting for confounding variables. CONCLUSION: Overweight could be a risk factor for the development of symptoms of asthma and allergic rhinitis in adolescent boys, whereas it was not a signifi cant risk factor for allergic diseases in girls.


Adolescence; Overweight; Allergic Diseases; Asthma; Atopic Dermatitis; Allergic Rhinitis; Allergic Conjunctivitis

MeSH Terms

Confounding Factors (Epidemiology)
Conjunctivitis, Allergic
Dermatitis, Atopic
Respiratory Sounds
Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial
Risk Factors
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