The caregivers of children with comorbid asthma and obesity had an overall perception of worse health compared with caregivers of children with asthma alone, according to the results of a recent study published in the Journal of Asthma.

Researchers used results from the 2007-2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) datasets to analyze the effects of comorbidities, received health care, and overnight hospital stays on the caregiver’s perception of child health. Results were compared between children aged 4 to 17 years who either had asthma alone or asthma with comorbid obesity.

Among the15,386 children included in the sample, 53.81% of participants were identified as non-Hispanic White, 22.78% as Hispanic, 14.12% as non-Hispanic Black, and 9.29% other non-Hispanic children. The percentage of children with normal weight, overweight, and obese status were 65.23%, 15.89%, and 18.90%, respectively. A total of 10.69% of the weighted sample had asthma currently, and 6.61% of the weighted sample had asthma in the past.


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In the primary study outcome, caregivers of children with current asthma and obesity were nearly 6 times  more likely to perceive their children as having worse health compared with caregivers of children with asthma of normal weight (P <.0001). Caregivers of children with asthma and obesity also demonstrated worse health perception compared with caregivers of children of normal weight who had never had asthma (odds ratio, 2.83; P <.0001).  Additionally, children with asthma and obesity were more likely to use health care more frequently, although this result did not reach statistical significance (odds ratio, 1.16; P =.31).

“Caregiver’s perception of overall health was worse in caregivers of those with co-morbid obesity/asthma than in caregivers of children with asthma alone,” the study authors wrote. “This indicates that caregivers of children with co-morbid asthma and obesity have insight into their children’s condition and may be primed for discussion and counseling in the healthcare setting.”

Reference

Hong H, Hou W, Kaur S, Bianchi-Hayes JM. The association of co-morbid asthma and overweight/obese status with healthcare utilization and caregiver perception of health in children 4-17 years, a NHANES study. J Asthma. Published online April 22, 2021. doi:10.1080/02770903.2021.1914651