Does Obesity Influence Atopic Dermatitis Risk?


Individuals who are overweight or obese may have an increased risk for atopic dermatitis (AD), according to the findings of a recent study by Ali and colleagues, which was published in The Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.

In their systematic literature review, the researchers identified 45 studies that examined the association between AD and oveweight or obesity among 90,000 individuals with AD. They evaluated the quality of the studies using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale.
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Overall, the majority of the studies indicated that obesity was associated with AD, although the researchers observed inconsistencies. Studies that assessed obesity in infancy and early childhood reported a positive association with AD. However, there were more discrepancies among studies from childhood into adulthood, with more recent prospective studies observing a positive association between obesity and AD while older cross-sectional studies did not observe this association. According to the researchers, these inconsistencies could be explained by differences in study design, diagnosis criteria of AD, regional differences, and varied definitions of overweight and obesity used in the studies.

“In conclusion, overweight/obesity is associated with an increased risk of AD,” the researchers concluded. “Large prospective cohort studies are required to confirm the association between AD and obesity and the possibility that weight control in childhood may help to mitigate or reverse AD symptoms.”

—Melissa Weiss


Ali Z, Suppli Ulrik C, Agner T, Thomsen SF. Is atopic dermatitis associated with obesity? A systematic review of observational studies [published online March 9, 2018]. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol