A new study shows that a parent's stress level can affect whether or not their young children develop asthma, a disease that has skyrocketed 160% since 1980.
Asthma is the result of inflammation of the airways triggered by environmental factors. Stress causes the body to be on heightened alert by engaging the body's inflammatory response mechanism. So, if a child senses the stress of the parent, their little bodies provide the perfect breeding ground for an asthma attack. Stress serves as the catalyst, in these instances, of serious airway constriction, reports Food Consumer.
According to The Globe and Mail, k ids who dangle from the monkey bars in parks where the air is heavy with pollution are more likely to develop asthma than those who breathe in cleaner air. And if their parents are stressed, the chances are even higher that they'll have to carry a puffer in their backpacks.
New research from the University of Southern California suggests children of stressed-out parents in high-pollution areas are more likely to have asthma than children in high-pollution areas with more relaxed mothers and fathers.
The study, which will be published in the July 28 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, followed 2,497 five-to-nine-year-olds from Southern California and tracked where they lived, their socioeconomic status, and their parents' stress level. Over the course of the three years, 120 children developed asthma.
Scientists found that children whose parents described themselves as stressed and anxious were 50% more likely to develop asthma than kids with non-stressed parents - at least when these youngsters were also exposed to pollution in a high-traffic, urban setting.
Parental stress alone did not increase the children's risk of asthma, but the combination of living in a household with high stress levels and being exposed to pollutants from traffic in the environment was sufficient to trigger the disease. The study found similar results with exposure to tobacco smoke, TIME informs.