Date of Award

Summer 8-2-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Ike Solomon Okosun, MS, MPH, PhD, FRSHP, FTOS

Second Advisor

Rodney Lyn, PhD, MS



Background: Obesity and asthma are significant public health problems and epidemics among children. From 1980 to 1994 the prevalence of self reported asthma in children increased 75% while the prevalence of childhood obesity increased by 100%. Studies have demonstrated a complex, but poorly understood association between obesity and childhood asthma. This study further examines the relationship between obesity and asthma in children and adolescents.

Methods: Using secondary data from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey NHANES 2005-2006, univariate analysis was used to examine the association between obesity and selected independent variables and current asthma status. Multivariate analysis was also used to examine the association between obesity and current asthma status. Independent t-test was used to compare mean values of continuous variables across asthma status. Finally, chi square test was used to compare categorical variables across asthma status. A p-value of < 0.05 and 95% confidence intervals were used to determine statistical significance throughout all the analyses performed.

Results: In total 3,515 cases were included in the study analysis, out of which 50% are boys and 50% are girls. Results of multivariate analysis showed that obese children had 1.64 higher odds of having current asthma (Odds Ratio 1.64, 95% CI: 1.63-1.64, p-value of

Conclusion: Obesity is significantly associated with current asthma status among children and adolescents. It may be beneficial to target obesity prevention in our efforts to control the asthma epidemic. Even small changes in mean population body mass index (BMI) may translate into significant increases or decreases in asthma incidence in children and adolescents.