Study links poor physical fitness to children’s eye allergies

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CHICAGO, Ill. — Physically fit children appear to be less prone to eye allergies, according to a study of more than one million 10-year-old children in Taiwan that was reported at the American Academy Annual Meeting of Ophthalmology (AAO).


Dr. Tsai Chu Yeh

“The increasing prevalence of allergic diseases, particularly in the pediatric population, is a serious global public health concern,” lead researcher Tsai-Chu Yeh, MD, said in an AAO press release. “Although the symptoms in allergic conjunctivitis are often considered minor, they tend to have a chronic course with multiple recurring episodes and can negatively affect children’s school performance and quality of life.”

Researchers, from Taipei Veterans General Hospital and National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University in Taipei City, Taiwan, set out to assess the relationship between children’s physical fitness and the development of allergies conjunctivitis (AC), Yeh said in an interview with Medscape Medical News.

physical condition in children

“Increased physical activity has been found to improve musculoskeletal health, cardiovascular outcomes, improve psychological health, and play an important role in children’s growth and development,” Yeh said.

“Fitness is closely related to physical activity and can be influenced by genetic and environmental factors,” she added. “Unlike physical activity, fitness can be assessed with objective measures, and therefore stands as an integrated measure of health status. Yet, the relationship between fitness and AC has remained relatively unexplored. “

The study assessed the 6-year cumulative incidence of AC in 1.27 million 10-year-old children with at least one year of follow-up. Data was obtained from the following databases: National Student Fitness Tests (NSFTD) of Taiwan, National Health Insurance Research and Air Quality Monitoring System. The study population passed the Taiwanese national physical fitness test in grades 4 (9 to 10 years old) and 13th (18 to 19 years old) from 2010 to 2018.

The NSFTD includes annual fitness test results, including minutes for the 800-meter run (cardiorespiratory endurance), number of bent-leg curl-ups (musculoskeletal endurance), standing long jump distance ( musculoskeletal power) and two-leg sit-and-reach distance (fitness flexibility). The study tracked the occurrence of AC through national registries.

Study results

The study divided the population into four different groups based on musculoskeletal (MP) power test results and found that those in the group with the best MP tests had a 6-year cumulative incidence of AC of 0.64 % while those in the worst MP test group had an incidence of 0.88% (P

Multivariate analysis also revealed that a number of other factors were associated with the occurrence of AC, including female gender, poorer air quality, greater urbanization, asthma, allergic rhinitis, and the use of antibiotics. High urbanization conferred an almost fourfold risk – an adjusted hazard ratio of 3.67 – for AC (95% CI, 3.4 to 3.97; P

“This is by far the largest single study to date and adds significantly to our knowledge of fitness and the risks of AC that come with it,” Yeh said. medical landscape. “This is the first attempt to characterize physical fitness, determined by objective measurement, in children at the population level.

“In light of our findings,” added Yeh, “interventions designed to prevent AC should focus not only on reducing environmental pollution, but also on improving physical fitness.”

AC can hamper physical fitness



Dr Yi Ning Strube

However, improving the fitness of this population may not be as straightforward as the study suggests, Yi Ning Strube, MD, MSassociate professor of pediatric ophthalmology and adult strabismus at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., said medical landscape.

While she called the abundance of data on children’s fitness collected by Taiwan “astonishing”, Strube noted that children with AC often suffer from asthma or allergic rhinitis, or both, which which can interfere with their physical activity.

“I don’t think you can conclude from this study that lower physical fitness causes AC, and a more plausible conclusion is that AC reduces your ability to be physically active, even independently of asthma and rhinitis. allergic associated,” Strube said. “Either way, I think this study underscores the importance of diagnosing and treating CA as a disease with significant consequences outside of direct ocular consequences, including reduced fitness.”

Yeh said additional studies with longitudinal measures of fitness will be needed to validate the results and better identify preventative measures.

Yeh did not disclose any relevant financial relationship. Strube revealed that he was a consultant for Santen Canada.

American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) 2022 Annual Meeting: Poster 62. Presented September 29, 2022.

Richard Mark Kirkner is a medical journalist based in the Philadelphia area.

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