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Socio-Cultural Influences on Obesity and Inflammation among 2-Year Old Puerto-Rican Children at Risk for Asthma Development

Kannan, Srimathi*; Acosta, Luis; Acevedo-Garcia, Dolores; Divjan, Adnan; Bracero, Luis§; Chew, Ginger

doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000362490.79468.10
Abstracts: ISEE 21st Annual Conference, Dublin, Ireland, August 25–29, 2009: Symposium Abstracts

*Department of Nutrition, Unversity of Massachusetts School of Public Health and Health Sciences, Amherst, MA 01002, United States; †Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, United States; ‡Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, United States; and §Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, West Virginia, School of Medicine, Charleston, WV 25302, United States.


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Background and Objective:

Recent studies have shown obesity tends to pre-date childhood asthma. While the pathways are not understood, inflammatory biomarkers are thought to play a role. The objectives are to assess serum levels of leptin and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) in early childhood and investigate their associations with body mass index (BMI), respiratory symptoms, and allergy.

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In a birth cohort of 181 Puerto-Rican babies born in New York City with a maternal history of inhalant allergy and/or allergic asthma, home/demographic characteristics and respiratory symptom questionnaires were administered every 6 months from birth through age 2 years. Children’s weight and height were measured and blood was collected at age 2. Serum was analyzed for leptin, hs-CRP, and allergen-specific sensitization. Obesity was defined as >95th percentile of BMI.

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At age 2-years, median BMI percentile was 85%. Geometric mean leptin and hs-CRP concentrations were 2.66 (GSD = 1.7) and 0.30 (GSD = 7.5) ng/ml, respectively. Leptin was associated with obesity (OR = 2.4; 1.4–2.9). More girls had leptin levels above the median than did boys (60% vs 37%, P = 0.0061). At age 2 years, children in daycare were more likely to be obese (43% vs 26%, P = 0.03). While maternal birthplace was not significantly associated with the children’s leptin levels, Puerto Rican-born mothers were less likely to have children with hs-CRP above the mean (OR = 0.14, 0.02–1.10; P < 0.06) compared with women born on the U.S mainland. Leptin and hs-CRP levels were not significantly associated with sensitization to any of the measured inhalant allergens. Neither leptin nor hs-CRP levels were associated with asthma morbidity markers at age 2.

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Leptin was positively associated with female gender, BMI and obesity. Children in daycare were more likely to have higher leptin levels. Maternal birthplace (Puerto Rico) was inversely associated with hs-CRP in children, but not significantly associated with leptin.

Funding acknowledgment for project: NIEHS R01 ES10922.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.