Obesity in Adults Is Associated With Reduced Lung Function in Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes: The Strong Heart Study

Diabetes Care. 2011 Oct;34(10):2306-13. doi: 10.2337/dc11-0682. Epub 2011 Aug 18.


Objective: The purposes of this study were to investigate whether reduced lung function is associated with metabolic syndrome (MS) and diabetes (DM) in American Indians (AIs) and to determine whether lower pulmonary function presents before the development of DM or MS.

Research design and methods: The Strong Heart Study (SHS) is a multicenter, prospective study of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and its risk factors among AI adults. The present analysis used lung function assessment by standard spirometry at the SHS second examination (1993-1995) in 2,396 adults free of overt lung disease or CVD, with or without DM or MS. Among MS-free/DM-free participants, the development of MS/DM at the SHS third examination (1996-1999) was investigated.

Results: Significantly lower pulmonary function was observed for AIs with MS or DM. Impaired pulmonary function was associated with MS and DM after adjustment for age, sex, abdominal obesity, current smoking status, physical activity index, hypertension, and SHS field center. Both forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) were negatively associated with insulin resistance or DM severity and with serum markers of inflammation (P < 0.05). FVC and FEV1-to-FVC ratio both predicted DM in unadjusted analyses but not when adjusted for covariates, including waist circumference. In the adjusted model, abdominal obesity predicted both MS and DM.

Conclusions: Reduced lung function is independently associated with MS and with DM, and impaired lung function presents before the development of MS or DM; these associations may result from the effects of obesity and inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Risk Factors