Obesity :: Waist size linked to lung function

The amount of fat carried around the waist — “abdominal adiposity” — is a better predictor of lung function than weight or body mass index (BMI), according to findings published in the medical journal Chest.

“The prevalence of obesity is increasing,” Dr. Holger J. Schunemann and colleagues observe, “and there is evidence that obesity, in particular abdominal obesity … is negatively associated with pulmonary function.”

Schunemann, of the National Cancer Institute Regina Elena in Rome, and associates examined the relationship between lung function and overall obesity and abdominal adiposity in a general population of 2153 adults residing in western New York state.

The five measures of fat levels they evaluated were weight, BMI, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio and abdominal height — that is, the base-to-top belly measurement.

In women, a large waist circumference and abdominal height were associated with poor lung function. In men, all five measures were linked with decreased lung function.

These findings confirm that abdominal adiposity is a good predictor of pulmonary function and researchers should take it into account when studying factors related to lung function, Schunemann’s group concludes.

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