Exposure to violence, depression and poor health habits — including obesity, drinking soda, poor sleep and smoking marijuana — appear to be associated with asthma in high school students, according to research presented at ATS 2019.

Addressing the depressive symptoms common among those who have been victimized, along with promoting a healthy lifestyle, may reduce asthma in adolescents, the researchers report.

According to the cross-sectional study of 24,612 high-school students, current asthma was reported by 13.1% of participating adolescents.

In the multivariable analysis, female sex, obesity, shorter sleep duration, frequent soda/pop consumption, and marijuana use were each significantly associated with 14% to 36% increased odds of current asthma.

Report of any violent behavior, any victimization, any suicidal behavior, and having felt sad or hopeless in the past year were each associated with current asthma.

“In particular, depressive symptoms may explain part of the association between violence exposure and asthma,” researchers concluded. “Promoting healthy life choices, early detection of violence exposure, and treatment of depressive symptoms could help reduce the asthma burden in this population.”