Effect of weight reduction on respiratory function and airway reactivity in obese women

Chest. 2004 Jun;125(6):2046-52. doi: 10.1378/chest.125.6.2046.


Background: Population-based studies have documented an association between obesity and an increased prevalence of asthma in women.

Methods: We prospectively studied 58 obese women with a body mass index of > 30 kg/m(2), 24 of whom had asthma, who were enrolled in an intensive 6-month weight loss program to determine whether loss of body mass would be correlated with improvements in bronchial reactivity, lung function, and disease-specific health status.

Results: Patients lost an average of 20 kg over the 6-month period. For every 10% relative loss of weight, the FVC improved by 92 mL (p = 0.05) and the FEV(1) improved by 73 mL (p = 0.04), however, bronchial reactivity did not significantly change with weight loss (p = 0.23). Patients who lost > 13% of their pretreatment weight experienced improvements in FEV(1) (p = 0.01), FVC (p = 0.02), and total lung capacity (p = 0.05) compared to patients in the lowest quartile who failed to lose significant amounts of weight. Neither group experienced any significant change in methacholine responsiveness (p = 0.57). Patients who completed the 6-month weight loss program experienced improvements in respiratory health status, irrespective of weight loss.

Conclusion: We concluded that weight loss can improve lung function in obese women, however, the improvements appear to be independent of changes in airway reactivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Airway Resistance
  • Asthma / complications
  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / physiopathology*
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / diagnosis*
  • Probability
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Sampling Studies
  • Vital Capacity
  • Weight Loss*