Although the effects of sex, ageing, height, race, and current and past health on pulmonary function tests have been described, only non-significant associations have been observed between body weight and lung function among healthy persons after having accounted for the effects of age and height. However, few studies have considered the influence of body compartments (e. g. lean and fat masses and their distribution) on lung function and respiratory gas exchange. The present work consists of a review of the literature on the effects of body weight components and body composition measurements on lung function. One of the important findings of this review was that the central (or upper body) pattern of fat distribution is negatively associated with airway function and that increases in body muscular mass result in linear increases for all spirometric variables in healthy persons. Nonetheless, the role that body composition plays in lung function still needs to be clarified.