AT 2017 AAAAI ANNUAL MEETING
ATLANTA (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS) – Obese females who live in urban settings are significantly more likely to develop atopic diseases, compared with their male counterparts, results from a single-center study showed.
“Some research has shown that obese girls are much more likely to be atopic, but many of them only look at one disease alone, such as atopic dermatitis or food allergies,” lead study author Sairaman Nagarajan, MD, MPH, said in an interview at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. “Most of the studies are in asthma.”
In what is believed to be the first study of its kind, Dr. Nagarajan, a second-year pediatric resident at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, N.Y., and his associates set out to examine the impact of gender on the association between obesity and multiple atopic diseases in urban minority children. They reviewed the medical records of 113 children aged 0-21 years of age who were evaluated at SUNY Downstate Medical Center for a history of allergic rhinitis, eczema, asthma, food allergies, and IgE, the percentage of eosinophils, and absolute eosinophil counts. The researchers created an atopic score variable to determine the number atopic diseases per patient and used Chi-square tests, t-tests, and linear regression to assess the relationship between obesity and atopic disease variables.
The mean age of patients was 9 years, 23% were obese, and 55% were male. The researchers observed no differences in laboratory biomarkers nor in the prevalence of individual/or cumulative atopic disease in obese children, compared with controls. When stratified by gender, obese females had a significantly higher mean atopic disease score, compared with controls (4.00 vs. 2.62, respectively; P less than .001), while males had a significantly lower mean atopic disease score, compared with controls (3 vs. 3.42; P less than .001). Regression models yielded similar results; obese females had a significantly higher mean atopic disease score, compared with controls (by a mean elevation of 1.37 points; P less than .005), while males had a significantly lower mean atopic disease score (by a mean decline of -0.42 points; P less than .006). “From this we can say that female gender is a positive risk factor for atopy, and urban obese females may be particularly likely to benefit from lifestyle modification therapy like exercise and diet in controlling weight, and thereby allergies,” Dr. Nagarajan said.
He noted that it remains unclear whether the findings would apply to children who live in nonurban settings. “It’s difficult to say because there are some variables which are unique to urban minority populations like the housing that they live in and the kind of stores they buy food from,” he said.
Dr. Nagarajan reported having no financial disclosures.