Volume 6 Supplement 2

Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting 2010

Open Access

Comorbidity with depression and overweight in children with asthma

  • Salma Bahreinian1Email author,
  • Geoff DC Ball1,
  • Allan B Becker2 and
  • Anita L Kozyrskyj1
Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology20106(Suppl 2):P10


Published: 4 November 2010


In Canada 16.6% of children are affected by asthma [1] which may increase the risk of comorbid depressive disorders in the adolescent years [2, 3]. Overweight is more prevalent in children suffering from asthma [4] or depression [5], yet few studies have explored the possible relationships between these three chronic conditions in children. We examined whether depression was more prevalent in children with asthma, especially among those who were overweight.

Materials and methods

Data were collected as a part of the nested case-control study of the Study of Asthma, Genes and Environment (SAGE) cohort in Manitoba. All the children enrolled in the study at age 7-10 were reassessed by a pediatric allergist at 11-13 years to confirm asthma/atopy diagnosis. At the same visit, height and weight were obtained. Depressive symptoms were also assessed using the short form of the children’s depression inventory (CDI-S). Depression was defined as CDI-S scores ≥2 (highest quartile of population under the study). Overweight was defined as BMI-z score > 1.04. Data were analyzed using logistic regression modeling to determine likelihood of depression in children with asthma, stratified by sex and adjusting for age, overweight and atopy.


A total of 485 children at 11-13 years (150 asthmatics and 335 non asthmatics) were enrolled in the study (Table 1). There was no statistically significant difference in overweight between children with versus without asthma (p= 0.4) and we found the prevalence of depression to be similar among those with (33.8%) versus without (28.1%) asthma (p= 0.2). Overweight was associated with higher odds of depression in girls independent of age and asthma/atopy status (adjusted OR=2.1, 95% CI= 1.02 to 4.22). In addition, asthmatic boys were more likely to experience depression after adjusting for age, overweight and atopy (adjusted OR=1.94, 95% CI=1.01 to 3.71) (Table 2).
Table 1

Basic distribution of study variables

Variable Name





















* Overweight: BMI-z score > 1.04

** Atopy: positive skin prick test to at least one common allergen

Table 2

Likelihood of depression in children

Adjusted OR* (95% CI)





2.1 (1.02 to 4.22)

.92 (.46 to 1.84)

1.07 (.56 to 2.04)


1.28 (.69 to 2.37)

1.94 (1.01 to 3.71)

.66 ( .36 to 1.24)

* Adjusted for overweight, asthma, atopy and age


Overweight appears to be an important predictor of depression in girls regardless of their asthma status. Although asthma status does not increase the likelihood of depression in girls, it appears to increase the odds of depression among boys.



This research was funded by AllerGen NCE Inc and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research: new emerging team and operating grants in origins of asthma. Salma Bahreinian is supported by the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute. We would also like to acknowledge the support of the SAGE research team.

Authors’ Affiliations

Dept Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta
Dept Pediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba


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© Bahreinian et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2010

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.