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A Few Extra Pounds May Harm Lung Function in Black, Hispanic Kids
Date:2/22/2013

FRIDAY, Feb. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Even a small amount of extra weight can have a negative effect on the lung function of Hispanic and black children, according to a new study.

However, this is not the case for white children, the researchers noted. As a result, they suggested that differences in the distribution of body fat could help explain the greater prevalence of asthma in these minority groups. The study authors said their findings could help doctors identify and treat children with airway obstruction.

"While it has been well documented that Hispanics and African-Americans -- particularly those who live in urban settings -- have a higher prevalence of asthma and obesity, there is less understanding of the lung function in overweight asthmatic minority children," senior study author Dr. Deepa Rastogi, an attending physician in the division of respiratory and sleep medicine at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore in New York City, explained in a Montefiore news release.

"What we have learned from this study is that even small increases in weight can negatively impact lung function," Rastogi added.

In conducting the study, published in the February issue of the Journal of Asthma, the researchers examined the medical records of 980 children living in the Bronx ranging in age from 7 to 20. The records were collected from January 2003 to December 2007.

Although white children tend to be obese before they experience airway obstruction due to excess weight, the study revealed that just being overweight can have a negative effect on lung function among minority children.

"This information may prove to be helpful in the clinic," noted Rastogi, who is also an assistant professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. "Physicians might want to measure the degree of airway obstruction in Hispanic and African-American children who are both overweight or obes
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