Purpose: Few studies have investigated the association of childhood obesity with respiratory disease–related outcomes in adulthood and findings are inconsistent. The aim of this study was to examine the associations of body mass index (BMI) in childhood with the occurrence of respiratory events in adulthood.
Methods: We analyzed a cohort of 4537 school-aged children who attended the Busselton Health Study. Height and weight were measured and generated BMI z-scores were categorized into four groups. Participants were followed for respiratory disease–related hospital admissions or death using the Western Australia Data Linkage System. The associations between childhood BMI and respiratory events in adulthood were investigated using Cox regression models. A subgroup of 2196 that reattended a survey in young adulthood was also analyzed.
Results: During the 122,781 person-years of follow-up, 810 participants experienced a respiratory event. Childhood BMI group was not associated with risk of respiratory event in adulthood (hazard ratio for BMI z ≥ 1 vs. < −1 = 0.90; 95% CI, 0.70–1.17; P = .295) and this persisted after adjustment for selected confounders in the subgroup (hazard ratio 0.80; 95% CI, 0.43–1.48; P = .476).
Conclusions: Childhood BMI is not associated with risk of respiratory events in adulthood.