Prevalence and incidence of asthma related to waist circumference and BMI in a Swedish community sample

Respir Med. 2004 Nov;98(11):1108-16. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2004.03.022.


Both asthma and obesity have become more common in affluent societies during the recent decades and several studies have shown a correlation between the presence of asthma and obesity. In order to further study this association we have investigated a population from a community in southern Sweden, where almost all inhabitants had their body indices measured as part of a study on diabetes at a primary care centre. An asthma unit working with a structured care programme for asthma was available. This organisation enabled us to study whether body mass index and waist circumference was associated with having or developing asthma. There was a significant association between both overweight, increased waist circumference and asthma, P < 0.01. The risk for developing asthma was associated with increased body weight and abdominal circumference, P < 0.05. The increase in asthma morbidity in the overweight subjects was found almost exclusively in the non-atopic asthma patients. This study confirms earlier findings of an increased prevalence of asthma in obese and overweight patients. Increased obesity and especially abdominal obesity is thus a risk factor for asthma, which probably contributes to the high prevalence of asthma in affluent societies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / etiology*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Body Constitution
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology