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Research Shows Body Weight and Asthma Connection in Children
Overweight boys and girls as young as 2 years old living in Central Harlem are twice as likely to suffer from asthma compared with children of normal weights, according to researchers at Mailman and Harlem Hospital. This suggests that aggressive interventions to prevent excessive weight gain in the early years could help reduce the costly effects of asthma-related morbidity among young children.
   Past research has shown that children living in Harlem are already twice as likely as other New York City children to have asthma. This means that overweight children of both genders in this neighborhood face an even more serious health disadvantage. Recognizing that the number of overweight children is rapidly increasing across the country, and especially in urban areas, the researchers recommend that interventions to prevent excessive weight gain be implemented at an early age.
   “Our findings among young children point to the influence of early life factors in the development of asthma and body weight and the importance of intervening in the pre-school and elementary school years to reduce asthma- and obesity-related morbidity in children and adults,” says co-lead author Helen Kwon, Ph.D., M.P.H., a Kellogg Scholar in Health Disparities at the Mailman School. The research is part of the Kellogg Program in Health Disparities, directed by Luisa N. Borrell, D.D.S., Ph.D., of the Mailman School’s Department of Epidemiology.

Risk for Skin Lesions Increase With Exposure to Arsenic in Drinking Water
Millions around the world are exposed to low doses of arsenic through drinking water. Until now, however, estimates of the health effects associated with low-dose exposure had been based on research from high-dose levels. In a study of more than 11,000 people in Bangladesh, Mailman School researchers have found evidence that a population exposed to well water with arsenic concentrations of as little as 50 ug/l is at risk for skin lesions. The report also concludes that older, male, and thinner participants were more likely to be affected by arsenic exposure.
   The research team evaluated the relationship over three years between arsenic exposure from drinking water and pre-malignant skin lesions. Participants were evaluated for arsenic exposure based on well-water arsenic concentration and usage. “Because of the wide range of arsenic exposure in the study population and the relatively large sample size, we were able to estimate and report dose-response relations even at the very low end of the arsenic exposure range. In particular, arsenic exposure seems to increase the risk of skin lesions at the low end of exposure in this population,” says Habibul Ahsan, M.D., M.M Sc., associate professor and director of the Center for Genetics in Epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology at Mailman.