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Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: Obesity may enhance the adverse effects of NO2 exposure in urban schools on asthma symptoms in children.

Authors: Permaul, Perdita; Gaffin, Jonathan M; Petty, Carter R; Baxi, Sachin N; Lai, Peggy S; Sheehan, William J; Camargo Jr, Carlos A; Gold, Diane R; Phipatanakul, Wanda

Published In J Allergy Clin Immunol, (2020 10)

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Sparse data address the effects of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) exposure in inner-city schools on obese students with asthma. OBJECTIVE: We sought to evaluate relationships between classroom NO2 exposure and asthma symptoms and morbidity by body mass index (BMI) category. METHODS: The School Inner-City Asthma Study enrolled students aged 4 to 13 years with asthma from 37 inner-city schools. Students had baseline determination of BMI percentile. Asthma symptoms, morbidity, pulmonary inflammation, and lung function were monitored throughout the subsequent academic year. Classroom NO2 data, linked to enrolled students, were collected twice per year. We determined the relationship between classroom NO2 levels and asthma outcomes by BMI stratification. RESULTS: A total of 271 predominantly black (35%) or Hispanic students (35%) were included in analyses. Fifty percent were normal weight (5-84th BMI percentile), 15% overweight (≥85-94th BMI percentile), and 35% obese (≥95th BMI percentile). For each 10-parts per billion increase in NO2, obese students had a significant increase in the odds of having an asthma symptom day (odds ratio [OR], 1.86; 95% CI, 1.15-3.02) and in days caregiver changed plans (OR, 4.24; 95% CI, 2.33-7.70), which was significantly different than normal weight students who exhibited no relationship between NO2 exposure and symptom days (OR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.57-1.42; pairwise interaction P = .03) and change in caregiver plans (OR, 1.37; 95% CI, 0.67-2.82; pairwise interaction P = .02). Relationships between NO2 levels and lung function and fractional exhaled nitric oxide did not differ by BMI category. If we applied a conservative Holm-Bonferroni correction for 16 comparisons (obese vs normal weight and overweight vs normal weight for 8 outcomes), these findings would not meet statistical significance (all P > .003). CONCLUSIONS: Obese BMI status appears to increase susceptibility to classroom NO2 exposure effects on asthma symptoms in inner-city children. Environmental interventions targeting indoor school NO2 levels may improve asthma health for obese children. Although our findings would not remain statistically significant after adjustment for multiple comparisons, the large effect sizes warrant future study of the interaction of obesity and pollution in pediatric asthma.

PubMed ID: 32197971 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: Adolescent; Air Pollution, Indoor; Asthma/epidemiology*; Asthma/etiology*; Body Mass Index; Child; Child, Preschool; Environmental Exposure/adverse effects*; Female; Humans; Male; Morbidity; Nitrogen Dioxide/adverse effects*; Obesity/complications*; Obesity/epidemiology*; Prognosis; Schools; Urban Population

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