Body composition analysis and changes in airways function in obese adults after hypocaloric diet

Chest. 2001 May;119(5):1409-15. doi: 10.1378/chest.119.5.1409.


Study objectives: To determine the relationship between weight-loss and pulmonary function indexes, focusing on forced expiratory flows (ie, FEV(1), forced expiratory flow at 50% of vital capacity [FEF(50)], forced expiratory flow at 75% of vital capacity, and forced expiratory flow at 25 to 75% of vital capacity [FEF(25--75)]). Specifically, to determine the effect of losses in total and segmental fat mass (FM) and of modifications in lean body mass, after restricted hypocaloric diet, on pulmonary function among obese adults.

Design: Cross-sectional, observational.

Settings: Human Physiology Division, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, "Tor Vergata" University, Rome, Italy.

Patients: Thirty obese adults (mean [+/- SD] baseline body mass index [BMI], 32.25 +/- 3.99 kg/m(2)), without significant obstructive airway disease, were selected from among participants in a weight-loss program.

Measurements and results: Anthropometric, body composition (BC), and respiratory parameters of all participants were measured before and after weight loss. Total and segmental lean body and FM were obtained by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Dynamic spirometric tests and maximum voluntary ventilation (MVV) were performed. The BC parameters (ie, body weight [BW], BMI, the sum skinfold thicknesses, thoracic inhalation circumference, thoracic expiration circumference, total FM, and trunk FM [FMtrunk]) were significantly decreased (p < or = .0001) after a hypocaloric diet. The mean vital capacity, FEV(1), FEF(50), FEF(25-75), expiratory reserve volume, and MVV significantly increased (p < or = 0.05) with weight loss. The correlation coefficient for Delta FEF(25--75) (r = 0.20) was numerically higher than Delta FEF(50) and Delta FEV(1) (r = 0.14 and r = 0.08, respectively) for the BW loss. Moreover, the correlation coefficient for Delta FEF(25--75) (r = 0.45) was significantly higher (p < or = 0.02) than those for Delta FEF(50) and Delta FEV(1) (r = 0.38 and r = 0.15, respectively) for FMtrunk loss.

Conclusions: This study shows that a decrease in total and upper body fat obtained by restricted diet was not accompanied by a decrease in ventilatory muscle mass. FMtrunk loss was found to have improved airflow limitation, which can be correlated to peripheral airways function.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Energy Intake*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Flow Rates*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Vital Capacity*
  • Weight Loss*