A study released today concluded that low birth weight is not associated with asthma risk in young children within the first six years of life, according to researchers from the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI).

The study, which was published in the scientific journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, examined a group of children born in Rochester, Minnesota between January 1976 and December 1979.

Researchers documented that 6.7 percent of children (13 out of 193) born at low weight developed asthma, compared to 5.4% of children (201 of 3,740) born at a normal weight.

“While environment, genetics, and their interaction are thought to increase one’s risk of developing asthma, we now should not assume that low birth weight is associated with asthma,” said allergist Hyeon Yang, MD, the lead author of the study. “This is an important finding as we continue to understand who is at risk for asthma and why.”

According to the ACAAI, asthma can occur at any age but is more common in children than adults. In young children, boys are nearly twice as likely as girls to develop asthma. Although birth weight is not associated with asthma, obesity is a recently identified risk factor.

ACAAI is a professional medical organization of more than 5,700 allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals. More information is available on its website.