208821 Does biomechanical body structures of weight in obese subjects impede physiological breathing patterns? A cross-sectional study

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 1:29 PM

Priscah Mujuru, DrPH RN , Department of Community Medicine, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Hari Krishna Salana, MBBS , Department of Community Medicine, School of Medicine, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Stephanie Frisbee, MSc , Department of Community Medicine, WVU School of Medicine, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV

Asthma and obesity are major public health concerns that have shown concomitant increase in prevalence over the last few decades. There is an increasing body of literature to support the role of obesity in causing compromised pulmonary function and aggravation of asthma symptoms. This study investigated the role of obesity in pulmonary function impairment as related to the biomechanical restriction of abdominal and thoracic fat on the normal expansion of the lungs.


A community based cross-sectional pilot study was conducted in 6 rural West Virginia communities. Subjects underwent pulmonary function testing and anthropometric assessments that included height, weight, and hip and waist circumference. Multiple linear regression models were performed using SAS to assess the intended outcome.


A total of 113 adults (42 males and 71 females) with a mean age of 41.4(9.8) years participated on the study. Thirty five percent of the participants were overweight and 40.7 % obese. Multiple linear regression analyses adjusting for age, height and weight showed a significant statistical relationship (p<0.05) between waist circumference and forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in 1st second (FEV1) in female subjects.


Waist circumference appears to have a significant predictive value in assessing risk of obstructive airway diseases especially in females. Females with higher waist circumferences are more likely to experience low volume breathing patterns which could lead to airway hyperresposiveness, a key pathological finding in asthma.

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the role of obesity in influencing pulmonary function.

Keywords: Asthma, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a qualified health professional and an epidemiologist.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Epidemiology of Obesity
See more of: Epidemiology