Improved Air Quality and Attenuated Lung Function Decline: Modification by Obesity in the SAPALDIA Cohort

Environ Health Perspect. 2013 Sep;121(9):1034-9. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1206145. Epub 2013 Jul 2.

Abstract

Background: Air pollution and obesity are hypothesized to contribute to accelerated decline in lung function with age through their inflammatory properties.

Objective: We investigated whether the previously reported association between improved air quality and lung health in the population-based SAPALDIA cohort is modified by obesity.

Methods: We used adjusted mixed-model analyses to estimate the association of average body mass index (BMI) and changes in particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter ≤ 10 µm (PM10; ΔPM10) with lung function decline over a 10-year follow-up period.

Results: Lung function data and complete information were available for 4,664 participants. Age-related declines in lung function among participants with high average BMI were more rapid for FVC (forced vital capacity), but slower for FEV1/FVC (forced expiratory volume in 1 sec/FVC) and FEF25-75 (forced expiratory flow at 25-75%) than declines among those with low or normal average BMI. Improved air quality was associated with attenuated reductions in FEV1/FVC, FEF25-75, and FEF25-75/FVC over time among low- and normal-BMI participants, but not overweight or obese participants. The attenuation was most pronounced for ΔFEF25-75/FVC (30% and 22% attenuation in association with a 10-μg/m3 decrease in PM10 among low- and normal-weight participants, respectively.)

Conclusion: Our results point to the importance of considering health effects of air pollution exposure and obesity in parallel. Further research must address the mechanisms underlying the observed interaction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Air Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Particle Size
  • Pulmonary Ventilation / drug effects*
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / chemically induced
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / complications
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / epidemiology*
  • Switzerland / epidemiology

Substances

  • Air Pollutants