A recent study by Johns Hopkins Hospital shows that overweight and obese children are more likely to suffer asthma symptoms than normal-weight children.

The study looked at 5 to 17 year-old asthmatics from minority groups living in an urban environment. Over a course of 12 months, the researchers tested the amount of air pollutants (specifically nitrogen dioxide and “fine particulate matter” if you were wondering) in each child’s room. When pollution levels were the same, the overweight and obese children were significantly more likely to show asthma symptoms.

The two categories of symptoms that increased the most were “exercise-related symptoms” and “more nights waking with asthma symptoms.”

The study’s conclusions were a) weight loss might reduce symptoms in overweight and obese children, and b) overweight and obese children might benefit from lower indoor air pollution even more than their normal-weight counterparts. More studies would be required to see if the same holds true for adults, but this seems likely.

Moral of the story – on top of treating asthma with medication and working to improve your indoor air quality, you might want to also focus on diet and exercise. It may not be the most direct way to treat your symptoms, but it could make a huge difference. And either way, it’s a healthy thing to do.