A new study has found that children who are born preterm have an increased risk developing asthma and wheezing disorders during childhood.
The research by Jasper Been, from the Maastricht University Medical Centre (Netherlands) and The University of Edinburgh (UK), and colleagues at Harvard Medical School (US) is a systematic review and meta-analysis of 30 unique studies that collectively involved approximately 1.5 million children.
The authors found that children born preterm (before 37 weeks of gestation) were about 46% more likely to develop asthma or a wheezing disorder during childhood, than babies at full term.
The authors also found that children born very preterm were at even higher risk of developing asthma or a wheezing disorder, almost three times as likely as children born at full term.
The authors estimate that if no preterm births had occurred, there would have been more than a 3.1% reduction in childhood wheezing disorders.
The research is published in PLOS Medicine.