Birthweight and the risk of atopic diseases: the ISAAC Phase III study Academic Article uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: The association between birthweight and asthma, eczema and rhinoconjunctivitisis conflicting. AIMS: To examine the association between birthweight and symptoms of asthma, eczema and rhinoconjunctivitis. METHODS: Parents or guardians of children aged 6–7 yr completed written questionnaires about symptoms of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema, and several risk factors, including birthweight. RESULTS: There were 162,324 children from 60 centres in 26 countries. Low birthweight(<2.5 kg) was associated with an increased risk of symptoms of asthma (current wheeze odds ratio = 1.20; 95% confidence interval = 1.12–1.30). Low birthweight was associated with a lower risk of eczema ever. Low birthweight was not associated with rhinoconjunctivitis. Large babies (birthweight ≥4.5 kg) were not associated with any of these outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: This study has confirmed that low birthweight is a risk factor for symptoms of asthma, but not for rhinoconjunctivitis. The findings for eczema are equivocal.


  • Sears, Malcolm
  • Mitchell, Edwin A
  • Clayton, Tadd
  • García-Marcos, Luis
  • Pearce, Neil
  • Foliaki, Sunia
  • Wong, Gary

publication date

  • May 2014