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Preterm birth and low birth weight continue to increase the risk of asthma from age 7 to 43


Matheson, MC and Lopez-Polin D'Olhaberriague, A and Burgess, JA and Giles, GG and Hopper, JL and Johns, DP and Abramson, MJ and Walters, EH and Dharmage, SC, Preterm birth and low birth weight continue to increase the risk of asthma from age 7 to 43, Journal of Asthma, 54, (6) pp. 616-623. ISSN 0277-0903 (2017) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in The Journal of Asthma on 28/10/2016, available online:

DOI: doi:10.1080/02770903.2016.1249284


Background: Perinatal events can influence the development of asthma in childhood but current evidence is contradictory concerning the effects on life-time asthma risk.

Objective: To assess the relationship between birth characteristics and asthma from childhood to adulthood.

Methodology: All available birth records for the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study (TAHS) cohort, born in 1961 were obtained from the Tasmanian State Archives and Tasmanian hospitals. Low birth weight (LBW) was defined as less than 2500 grams. Preterm birth was defined as delivery before 37 weeks gestation. Small for gestational age (SGA) was defined as a birth weight below the 10th percentile for a given gestational age. Multivariate logistic and cox regression were used to examine associations between birth characteristics and lifetime risk of current and incident asthma, adjusting for confounders.

Results: The prevalence of LBW was 5.2%, SGA was 13.8% and preterm was 3.3%. LBW (OR = 1.66, 95%CI 1.13,2.44) and preterm birth (OR = 1.81, 95%CI 1.00,3.31) were both associated with an increased risk of current asthma between the ages of 7 to 43 years. There was no association between SGA and current asthma risk. However SGA was associated with incident asthma (HR = 1.32, 95%CI 1.00, 1.74), and there was an interaction with sex (p-value = 0.08), with males having a greater risk of incident asthma (HR = 1.70, 95%CI 1.16-2.49) than females (HR = 1.04, 95%CI 0.70-1.54).

Conclusions: Preterm birth and LBW were associated with an increased risk of current asthma into middle-age. These findings are the first to demonstrate the continuing impact of these characteristics on asthma risk into middle-age.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:asthma, low birth weight, prematurity, small for gestational age
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Cardiovascular medicine and haematology
Research Field:Respiratory diseases
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Johns, DP (Associate Professor David Johns)
UTAS Author:Walters, EH (Professor Haydn Walters)
ID Code:112684
Year Published:2017 (online first 2016)
Web of Science® Times Cited:17
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2016-11-23
Last Modified:2017-12-11
Downloads:30 View Download Statistics

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