Researchers in Spain and the Netherlands have discovered that a child’s growth and weight gain during the first three years of their life has an impact on lung development.
The study involved over 4,000 children in the Netherlands. Each child’s height and weight were regularly measured from birth until they were 3 years old. At 10, the children took a lung function (spirometry) test and their parents were asked to fill in a questionnaire about whether their children might have asthma.
When comparing these measurements, researchers noted that the children who gained weight most quickly and had the highest body mass index in their first three years of life had lower lung function. This was due to having smaller airways in relation to their total lung volume.
Researchers also found that the children who grew more steadily and reached their peak body mass index later had better lung function – and, in the case of boys, were at a lower risk of asthma.
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