Asthma and Childhood Obesity [INFOGRAPHIC]


Many of us are aware that childhood obesity puts our children at a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and heart complications – but did you know that childhood obesity is linked to asthma as well?

Fact: Childhood obesity increases a child’s risk of asthma development by 52%.

While research has not been able to determine a direct cause-and-effect relationship between obesity and asthma, there is a definite correlation. Let’s take a look at some of the unhealthy lifestyle habits of today’s children.

asthma and childhood obesity

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Asthma and Obesity on the Rise

Both childhood obesity and asthma are leading public health problems.

1980 to 1994

  • Childhood obesity increased 100%
  • Self-reported asthma in children increased 75%

1980 to 2000

  • Childhood obesity increased 300%
  • Self-reported asthma in children increased 74%

Today (2015)

  • 8.3% of children have asthma
  • 35% of children are obese

Research hasn’t found one direct link between childhood obesity and asthma, but there are plenty of associating factors.

Overlapping Facts & Factors

Unhealthy Diet

  • Only 2% of U.S. children eat healthy according to standards defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Our portions sizes today are 2 to 5 times bigger than they were in years past.
    • Children are eating more, not realizing they are consuming unnecessary calories.
    • 1/5 of teens drink about a meal’s worth of sugar in sugary beverages throughout the day.
      • Soft Drink Trends
        • Before 1950 – 6.5 oz. cans
        • 1950s – 12 oz. cans
        • 1990s – 20 oz. plastic bottles
        • 2010s – 42 oz. contoured plastic bottles
        • Snacking used to be once per day.
          • Now 1 in 5 children have 6 snacks per day.
          • Children consume 31% more calories compared to 40 years ago.
          • There are less healthy food options in lower-income areas.
          • Healthy food is often more expensive.
          • 10.9% of individuals with asthma are living below the poverty level.


  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day (for children and adolescents).
    • 75% of today’s youth do not meet this standard.
    • 1 in every 4 children does not participate in a single physical activity throughout the day.
    • Children spend 4 to 5 hours per day being still (on average): watching TV, using the computer, or playing video games.
    • Excess weight makes it harder to breath (resulting in asthma) especially when exerting oneself – yet avoidance of physical activity often leads to unhealthy weight gain (resulting in obesity).

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