Associations between asthma, overweight and physical activity in children: a cross-sectional study

Maartje Willeboordse*, Kim D. G. van de Kant, Charlotte A. van der Velden, Constant P. van Schayck, Edward Dompeling

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Asthma and obesity are highly prevalent in children, and are interrelated resulting in a difficult-to-treat asthma-obesity phenotype. The exact underlying mechanisms of this phenotype remain unclear, but decreased physical activity (PA) could be an important lifestyle factor. We hypothesize that both asthma and overweight/obesity decrease PA levels and interact on PA levels in asthmatic children with overweight/obesity. Methods: School-aged children (n = 122) were divided in 4 groups (healthy control, asthma, overweight/obesity and asthma, and overweight/obesity). Children were asked to perform lung function tests and wear an activity monitor for 7 days. PA was determined by: step count, active time, screen time, time spent in organized sports and active transport forms. We used multiple linear regression techniques to investigate whether asthma, body mass index-standard deviation score (BMI-SDS), or the interaction term asthma x BMI-SDS were associated with PA. Additionally, we tested if asthma features (including lung function and medication) were related to PA levels in asthmatic children. Results: Asthma, BMI-SDS and the interaction between asthma x BMI-SDS were not related to any of the PA variables (p >= 0.05). None of the asthma features could predict PA levels (p >= 0.05). Less than 1 in 5 children reached the recommended daily step count guidelines of 12,000 steps/day. Conclusion: We found no significant associations between asthma, overweight and PA levels in school-aged children in this study. However, as PA levels were worryingly low, effective PA promotion in school-aged children is necessary.
Original languageEnglish
Article number919
JournalBMC Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


  • Activity
  • Body mass index
  • Exercise
  • Overweight
  • Pediatrics

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