Effect of asthma and its treatment on growth: four year follow up of cohort of children from general practices in Tayside, Scotland

C. Mccowan, R.G. Neville, G.E. Thomas, I.K. Crombie, R.A. Clark, I.W. Ricketts, A.Y. Cairns, F.C. Warner, S.A. Greene, E. White

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Objective: To investigate whether asthma or its treatment impairs children?s growth, after allowing for socioeconomic group. Design: 4 year follow up of a cohort of children aged 1-15. Setting: 12 general practices in the Tayside region of Scotland. Subjects: 3347 children with asthma or features suggestive of asthma registered with the general practices. Main outcome measures: Height and weight standard deviation scores. Results: Children who lived in areas of social deprivation (assessed by postcode) had lower height and weight than their contemporaries (mean standard deviation score ?0.26 (SD 1.02) and ?0.18 (1.15) respectively, P60;0.001 for both). Children who were receiving 400mug daily of inhaled steroids and who were attending both hospital and general practice for asthma care had lower height and weight than average, independent of the effect of deprivation (mean standard deviation score ?0.62 (1.01), P=0.002, for height and ?0.58 (0.94), P=0.005, for weight). Children receiving high doses of inhaled corticosteroids also showed lower growth rates (mean change in standard deviation score ?0.19 (0.51), P=0.003). However, no other children with asthma showed growth impairment. Conclusion: Most children with asthma were of normal height and weight and had normal growth rates. However, children receiving high doses of inhaled steroids and requiring both general practice and hospital services had a significant reduction in their stature. This effect was independent from but smaller than the effect of socioeconomic group on stature.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)668-672
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Medical Journal
Issue number7132
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 1998

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