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New data analysis shows possible link between childhood obesity and allergies
Date:5/4/2009

A new study indicates there may be yet another reason to reduce childhood obesity it may help prevent allergies. The study published in the May issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology showed that obese children and adolescents are at increased risk of having some kind of allergy, especially to a food. The study was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), both parts of the National Institutes of Health.

"We found a positive association between obesity and allergies," said Darryl Zeldin, M.D., acting clinical director at NIEHS and senior author on the paper. The researchers analyzed data on children and young adults ages 2 to19 from a new national dataset designed to obtain information about allergies and asthma. "While the results from this study are interesting, they do not prove that obesity causes allergies. More research is needed to further investigate this potential link," Zeldin said.

The study is the first to be published using new data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). NHANES is a large nationally representative survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NHANES is designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. An allergy/asthma component was supported by NIEHS and added to the 2005჻� NHANES study, making it the largest nationally representative dataset of allergy and asthma information ever assembled in the United States.

"We have all the pieces of the puzzle in this dataset," said Zeldin. "The allergy and asthma component of NHANES provides allergen exposure information, allergic sensitization information, as well as disease outcome information. There is a wealth of knowledge we will be able to gain by analyzing these dat
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Contact: Robin Mackar
rmackar@niehs.nih.gov
919-541-0073
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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