Birth weight and asthma incidence by asthma phenotype pattern in a racially diverse cohort followed through adolescence

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

The Journal of asthma


OBJECTIVE: Low birth weight (LBW) has been shown to be an independent risk factor for asthma. We hypothesized that LBW would have its greatest impact on early onset disease.

METHODS: A racially diverse cohort of children born from 1983 to 1985 at two hospitals, one urban and one suburban in the same metropolitan area, and oversampled for babies weighing ≤2500 g, was identified retrospectively when the children were 6 years of age and followed periodically. At the age 17 years study visit, cohort members and their parent/guardians were separately interviewed face-to-face regarding the subject's history of asthma using the standardized ISAAC questionnaire. We measured the cumulative incidence of asthma from birth through adolescence defined by age of diagnosis and persistence/remittance.

RESULTS: Six-hundred and eighty teens (82.6% of the original cohort) were included in the analyses, 387 with LBW and 293 of normal birth weight. The prevalence of physician-diagnosed "Current Asthma" was associated with LBW (p = 0.003 for trend), with patterns stronger in males and whites. LBW was associated most strongly with Late Onset Persistent asthma (current asthma that was diagnosed after 8 years); p for trend 0.032. This trend was again most evident in males and whites. None of the asthma categories classified as "remittent" were statistically associated with LBW.

CONCLUSIONS: LBW was not associated with diagnosed asthma that remitted before age 17 years. LBW was associated with asthma diagnosis in mid-childhood that persisted through adolescence, suggesting that the asthmagenic effects of LBW can become evident post the early years of childhood and persist into adulthood.

Medical Subject Headings

Adolescent; African Americans; Age of Onset; Asthma; Birth Weight; Child; Child, Preschool; Cohort Studies; European Continental Ancestry Group; Female; Gestational Age; Humans; Incidence; Infant, Low Birth Weight; Male; Michigan; Prevalence; Retrospective Studies; Risk Factors; Sex Factors

PubMed ID






First Page


Last Page