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Obesity can contribute to worse asthma outcomes, including a reduced response to controller medication and a need for oral corticosteroids. This study sought to determine the association between obesity and oral corticosteroid prescription in Latino and non-Hispanic white children.

Electronic health records from community health centers across the United States were included, with a sample size of 16,763 children. The study criteria included children between 5 and 17 years old who had received an asthma diagnosis and had visited clinics for asthma-related issues more than one time between 2012 and 2017.

The sample’s racial/ethnic and sex demographics were 63.8% Latino, 36.2% non-Hispanic white, 56% male, and 44% female. A majority of the patients (81.4%) had public insurance. It was found that 39.1% of the children always fell into an overweight/obese body mass index-for-age percentile, 22.9% sometimes fell into an overweight body mass index-for-age percentile, and 38% never fell into an overweight/obese body mass index-for-age percentile.

After conducting a Poisson regression analysis, researchers determined that Latino children who fit the study criteria were 15% more likely to receive a prescription for an oral corticosteroid if they fell into an overweight or obese body mass index-for-age percentile at the time of the visit. The researchers noted a similar pattern among non-Hispanic white children.

In conclusion, this study found that both Latino children and non-Hispanic white children with asthma who struggled with being overweight or obese were more likely to receive oral corticosteroids than children with asthma and a healthy weight. A call to action is made to prevent and manage unhealthy weight in children with asthma to improve their asthma outcomes and overall health status [1].

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[1] Lucas, J. A., Marino, M., Fankhauser, K., Bailey, S. R., Ezekiel-Herrera, D., Kaufmann, J., Cowburn, S., Suglia, S. F., Bazemore, A., Puro, J., & Heintzman, J. (2019). Oral corticosteroid use, obesity, and ethnicity in children with asthma. Journal of Asthma, 57(12), 1288–1297. https://doi.org/10.1080/02770903.2019.1656228