Growth in first 3 years affects your kid’s lungs

Growth in first three years of life has implications for respiratory health in children

First there is nutrition throughout pregnancy—and then after.

But how your children grow in the first three years of life affects their respiratory health, a new study has found.

Development of respiratory diseases in childhood and later life is much dependent on early infancy.

Recent studies have shown excessive weight gain in the first years of life can be associated with lower lung function and a higher risk of childhood asthma.


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The study at Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) analysed the influence of weight and height on lung development and asthma risk in nearly 4,500 children in the Netherlands.

It tracked peak height and weight growth velicity, which occur at around one month of age, and body mass index at nine months of age.

“The findings show that the infants with the highest weight gain velocity and body mass index had lower lung function at 10 years of age,” commented Maribel Casas, researcher at ISGlobal and Erasmus MC and lead author of the study.

“Specifically, we observed that these children had a lower function related to the smaller airways in relation to their total lung volume. Although we did not observe any relationship between height and weight growth and the risk of asthma, this disproportionate development of lung function could be a risk factor for the development of respiratory disease.”

The study, published in the journal Thorax, also found that “the later the children reached their peak body mass index, the better their lung function and, in the case of boys, the lower the risk of asthma,” explained Casas.

“These results confirm that early childhood growth plays an important role in lung development.”

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