Population values of lung volumes and flows in children: effect of sex, body mass and respiratory conditions

Eur Respir J. 1992 Apr;5(4):463-70.


The functional relationship of gender, anthropometric measures and respiratory condition in predicting respiratory function in children was explored, using data collected in a random sample survey in Central Italy (2,176 subjects). Regression equations for the logarithmic transformation of the functional data were obtained, using sex, ln(height), ln(body mass index) (BMI) and ln(age) as predicting variables. The fit of the model was better for forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and peak expiratory flow (PEF) (R2 = 0.655, 0.603 and 0.312, respectively) than for maximal expiratory flows. Variables indicating the presence of respiratory conditions (recent respiratory infections, asthma, cough and/or phlegm) were forced in the models; only a marginal change in the predictions was observed. Data analysis while controlling for FVC, as a proxy for total lung capacity, revealed no substantial sex difference in airways; furthermore, airways size relative to lung size falls with increasing FVC in both sexes. In overweight subjects (BMI greater than 90th percentile) the relationship between height and lung volume was modified by sex, the coefficient for ln(height) being higher in girls and lower in boys. A comparison between equations from the present study and available reference data revealed that our population differs from standards derived from laboratory data and is more similar to those derived from population studies.

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Lung Volume Measurements*
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Pulmonary Ventilation / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Spirometry / statistics & numerical data