Background Observational associations between asthma and obesity are well established, but inferring causality is challenging. We leveraged publicly available summary statistics to ascertain the causal direction between asthma and obesity via Mendelian randomization in European-ancestry adults. Methods We performed two-sample bi-directional Mendelian randomization analysis using publicly available genome-wide association studies summary statistics. Single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with asthma and body mass index at genome-wide significance were combined using a fixed effect meta-analysis in each direction. An extensive sensitivity analysis was considered. Results There was evidence in support of increasing causal effect of body mass index on risk of asthma (odds ratio 1.18 per unit increase, 95% confidence interval (CI) (1.11, 1.25), P = 2 × 10−8. No significant causal effect of asthma on adult body mass index was observed [estimate −0.004, 95% CI (−0.018, 0.009), P = 0.553]. Conclusions Our results confirmed that in European-ancestry populations, adult body mass index is likely to be causally linked to the risk of asthma; yet the effect of asthma on body mass index is small, if present at all.