To investigate the independent relationships between baseline characteristics and incident wheeze in adolescents, with particular regard to gender.
Adolescents (N = 959), aged 12-15 years, answered a standardised respiratory questionnaire and underwent height and weight measurements at baseline. Four years later, 96% of the subjects completed a similar questionnaire. The present study included the adolescents without self-reported wheeze at baseline (n = 795; 394 girls).
The proportion of adolescents with obesity was higher among subjects with incident wheeze than among subjects who never reported wheeze: 19.1% versus 8.3%. When stratifying for gender, this difference was only found in girls. In stepwise logistic regression models (odds ratios [95% confidence interval]), obesity (2.84 [1.17 – 6.86]) and rhinitis (3.04 [1.53 – 6.03]) at baseline, and current smoking (2.60 [1.16 – 5.82]) at follow up, were associated with incident wheeze in girls. For boys, FEV < -1.65 standard deviation (3.20 [1.04 - 9.79]), family asthma (3.16 [1.46 - 6.86]) and seasonal allergic symptoms (5.61 [2.56 - 12.27]) at baseline were independently associated with incident wheeze.
Data stratified by gender showed that obesity in girls and an atopic constitution in boys were independently associated with increased risk of developing wheeze within four years.

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