Efficacy of an Exercise Intervention Among Children with Comorbid Asthma and Obesity

J. A. Lucas, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Sheniz Moonie, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Mary Beth Hogan, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
W. N. Evans, Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center


Objectives Children with comorbid asthma and obesity present with more severe and harder-to-control disease than asthmatic children at healthy weight. Weight loss has been shown to improve asthma symptoms, yet physical activity may be difficult due to exercise-induced bronchospasm. Children with asthma have lower exercise rates than non-asthmatics. The objective of this study was to retrospectively evaluate attrition rates and program outcome measures (Body Mass Index [BMI] and maximum oxygen consumption [VO2max]) among asthmatic and non-asthmatic participants. Study design Clinical data were collected from the Healthy Hearts Program, a 12-week nutrition and activity intervention program for children who are overweight, obese, or at risk for heart disease and other conditions, and used for the study. Methods Intervention data and demographics were obtained from medical records at the Children's Heart Center Nevada. Descriptive statistics, paired t-tests, Cox regression analysis, and analysis of covariance were conducted. Results The mean age of this population (N = 232) was 11 years; 54% were male, 64% were Hispanic, and 37% had asthma. Median time in the program was 9 weeks, and 58% of the population completed the program. Unadjusted analyses showed significant BMI decreases in asthmatic (P = 0.002) and non-asthmatic (P = 0.001) participants and increases in cardiorespiratory function for asthmatic males and females (P = 0.003, P = 0.004) and non-asthmatic males and females (P < 0.001 for both). Asthmatic and non-asthmatic children both had improved exercise intensity (P = 0.033, P < 0.001). Conclusions This program is both beneficial and practical for obese children with asthma for losing weight and improving cardiorespiratory function.