It is believed that the dramatic increase in childhood asthma and allergies in the past 25 years is caused by changes in our lifestyle including the North American diet. Children, and in particular teen girls, drink 36% less milk than they did 20 years ago.
- Some studies suggest that drinking milk is associated with lower rates of asthma.
- Drinking milk has also been associated with better weight in children.
- Being overweight is associated with more asthma symptoms in children.
Our research questions:
- What role does low milk consumption play in the development of asthma in children 8-10 years old?
- What role does being overweight play in the rate of asthma?
- Does the combination of low milk consumption AND overweight together increase the risk of asthma more than each component alone?
Children were divided into 2 groups Those with asthma and those without.
Each of these two groups was further divided into 2 more groups: Low milk consumption (drinking milk less than 2 times per week) and Regular milk consumption (drinking milk more than 2 times per week).
Overweight was defined as having a Body Mass Index of greater than 85% of the average for the child’s age.
- Over all, children who drank little milk were more likely to be overweight.
- Girls with asthma tended to drink milk less often than girls who did not have asthma. This was not seen in boys with asthma.
- Girls with asthma had a higher incidence of being overweight than girls without asthma.
- Girls who drank little milk and were overweight were even more likely to have asthma. This was true weather the girl lived an other-wise healthy lifestyle or not (eg, no smokers in the home, being active, eating fish and other foods with Vitamin D).
- The number of boys who were overweight was the same for boys with or without asthma.
The reason for this is unclear and the researchers want to continue to study this to understand how diet and weight play a role in asthma.
Infrequent milk consumption plus being overweight may have great risk for asthma in girls. Mai XM, Becker AB, Sellers EA, Liem JJ, Kozyrskyj AL. Allergy. 2007 Nov;62(11):1295-301