Weight history from birth through childhood and youth in relation to adult lung function, in Danish juvenile obese and non-obese men

Int J Obes (Lond). 2005 Sep;29(9):1055-62. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0802998.


Objective: To investigate the associations of birth weight, body mass index (BMI) during childhood and youth, and current BMI with adult lung function.

Design: Population-based longitudinal study of juvenile obese and non-obese men, who were identified at draft board examination (age range: 19-27 y) and who participated in a follow-up examination in 1981-1983 (age range: 25-48 y). Birth weight, childhood weight and height measurements from 7 to 13 y of age were obtained from school health records. Current BMI and lung function were assessed at follow-up.

Setting: Copenhagen and adjacent regions, Denmark.

Subjects: In total, 193 juvenile obese men at draft board examination and 205 randomly selected nonobese controls from the same population.

Main outcome measures: Lung function measured by forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV(1)) and forced vital capacity (FVC), adjusted for age and height.

Results: After adjusting for current BMI, smoking and education, birth weight was positively related to FEV(1), although only with borderline statistical significance. BMI at age 7 y was positively associated with both FEV(1) and FVC, whereas BMI at later ages in childhood and in youth was not associated with these measures. There was a strong negative linear relation between current BMI and lung function among those currently overweight and obese (BMI 25 kg/m(2)), whereas no association was seen in the non-obese (BMI <25 kg/m(2)).

Conclusion: Our findings confirm the detrimental effect of high current BMI on adult lung function, and further suggest that early childhood growth has a protective influence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Birth Weight / physiology*
  • Body Height / physiology
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Child
  • Child Development / physiology
  • Educational Status
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Vital Capacity / physiology