HealthDay News — Obese girls may face a significantly higher risk for developing allergies, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), held from March 3-6 in Atlanta.

The investigation focused on 113 children (45% girls, 55% boys), about a quarter of whom were obese (23%). All were deemed to be relatively healthy. Medical histories were taken to assess for a range of allergic conditions, including asthma, food allergies, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis. The children were then given allergy scores, with those struggling with more allergic conditions getting higher scores.

The researchers found that obese girls had allergy scores higher than normal-weight girls: 4.00 versus 2.62. In contrast, obese boys were found to have slightly lower allergy scores than normal-weight boys: 3.00 versus 3.42.

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“These results were highly significant, even after adjusting for the effects of age and race,” study coauthor Sairaman Nagarajan, MD, MPH, a resident physician in the department of pediatrics at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York City, told HealthDay. “We hypothesize that there are hormonal differences causing girls to have higher atopy.”

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Obese girls more prone to allergic disease, opposite correlation in boys [news release]. Atlanta, GA: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Published March 2017. Accessed March 9, 2017.