Atopic dermatitis linked with short stature and obesity in children: JAMA

Published On 2021-11-25 04:30 GMT   |   Update On 2021-11-26 02:14 GMT

Canada: Mathew N. Nicholas and colleagues conducted a new study that found atopic dermatitis to be linked with shorter stature, higher BMI, and lower weight in early childhood, although these correlations were minor, attenuated with age, and disappeared by adolescence for height and BMI.

Associations between atopic dermatitis and decreased height and increased BMI in early childhood may be transient, with correction by adolescence; somewhat decreased weight may persist with age.

The findings of this study were published in the journal JAMA Dermatology on 17th November 2021.

Although atopic dermatitis has been linked to short height and obesity in children, most prior research was either small or cross-sectional. As a result, the purpose of this study was to look at the relationship between atopic dermatitis and height, body mass index (BMI; computed as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared), and weight throughout infancy. 

This study is conducted through TARGet Kids! (The Applied Research Group for Kids) which is an ongoing prospective longitudinal cohort research that gathers data during typical pediatric physician visits. From June 2008 to February 2021, children aged 5 or younger were followed up during regular physician visits at general pediatric and family practice in Toronto, Canada.

The primary outcomes of this study were z scores for length-for-age and BMI-for-age. The weight-for-age z score was the secondary result. Furthermore, evaluation of the relationships between atopic dermatitis and each outcome, linear mixed-effects models were performed. Secondary studies also included interaction variables between atopic dermatitis and age.


A total of 10 611 children were involved in the study, with a mean (SD) baseline age of 23 (20) months and 5070 (47.8 percent) female participants. The participants were tracked for a median (range) of 28.5 months (0.0-158.0). During the follow-up period, 1834 (17.3 percent) of the children had atopic dermatitis. When compared to children who did not have atopic dermatitis, children with atopic dermatitis had a shorter length-for-age z score, a higher BMI z score, and a lower weight-for-age z score.


The relationships between atopic dermatitis and height and BMI deteriorated with age, with 14 years and 5.5 years being the most affected. The findings of this study stated that atopic dermatitis was linked with somewhat shorter height and higher BMI among early children in this cohort research of 10 611 children (1834 with atopic dermatitis), although these correlations were decreased by age 14 years and 5.5 years, respectively. Atopic dermatitis was linked to a little drop in weight, which did not vary with age.

In conclusion, the link between atopic dermatitis and growth may not be maintained throughout infancy. Prospective studies with longer time horizons are required to assess long-term correlations and the potential mediating effects of atopic dermatitis disease severity, related sleep disruption, and therapy.


Nicholas MN, Keown-Stoneman CDG, Maguire JL, Drucker AM. Association Between Atopic Dermatitis and Height, Body Mass Index, and Weight in Children. JAMA Dermatol. Published online November 17, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2021.4529

Article Source : JAMA Dermatology

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