Association between obesity and atopic dermatitis in childhood: A case-control study

Jonathan I. Silverberg, Edward Kleiman, Hadar Lev-Tov, Nanette B. Silverberg, Helen G. Durkin, Rauno Joks, Tamar A. Smith-Norowitz

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111 Scopus citations


Background: Obesity in children is associated with increased asthma and atopy. Objective: We sought to determine whether obesity in childhood or adolescence increases the risk of atopic dermatitis. Methods: This retrospective, practice-based, case-control study randomly sampled 414 children and adolescents (age, 1-21 years) with atopic dermatitis between January 2000 and December 2007 and 828 randomly sampled healthy control subjects. Information was obtained from an electronic medical record. Observations were made before the a priori hypothesis. Results: Obesity in children is associated with increased atopic dermatitis (conditional logistic regression: odds ratio, 2.00; 95% CI, 1.22-3.26; P = .006). These atopic dermatitis-predisposing effects are found when obesity started by less than 2 years of age (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 15.10; 95% CI, 1.51-151.21; P = .02) and 2 to 5 years (aOR, 2.58; 95% CI, 1.24-5.41; P = .01) but not greater than 5 years (aOR, 1.32; 95% CI, 0.66-2.64; P = .43) and when obesity was prolonged for 2.5 to 5 years (aOR, 2.64; 95% CI, 1.13-6.18; P = .03) and greater than 5 years (aOR, 3.40; 95% CI, 1.34-8.63; P = 0.01). Obesity is associated with more severe atopic dermatitis (ordinal logistic regression: aOR, 2.37; 95% CI, 1.24-5.37; P = .01). Obese children who eventually have atopic dermatitis require more frequent pediatrician visits for the management of atopic dermatitis (ordinal logistic regression: aOR, 2.22; 95% CI, 1.12-4.50; P = .03). Conclusion: Prolonged obesity in early childhood is a risk factor for atopic dermatitis. Weight loss might be an important approach for the prevention and treatment of atopic dermatitis in children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1180-1186.e1
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Atopic dermatitis
  • atopy
  • body mass index
  • eczema
  • obesity
  • overweight
  • weight


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