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Clinical Investigations: PULMONARY FUNCTION |

Effect of Weight Reduction on Respiratory Function and Airway Reactivity in Obese Women*

Shawn D. Aaron, MD, MSc; Dean Fergusson, PhD; Robert Dent, MD; Yue Chen, PhD; Katherine L. Vandemheen, BScN; Robert E. Dales, MD, MSc
Author and Funding Information

*From the Department of Medicine (Drs. Aaron, Dent, and Dales), the Ottawa Health Research Institute (Dr. Fergusson and Ms. Vandemheen), and the Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine (Dr. Chen), University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada.

Correspondence to: Shawn Aaron, MD, MSc, Division of Respiratory Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital, General Campus, Room 1812F, 501 Smyth Rd, Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1H 8L6; e-mail: saaron@ottawahospital.on.ca



Chest. 2004;125(6):2046-2052. doi:10.1378/chest.125.6.2046
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Background: Population-based studies have documented an association between obesity and an increased prevalence of asthma in women.

Methods: We prospectively studied 58 obese women with a body mass index of > 30 kg/m2, 24 of whom had asthma, who were enrolled in an intensive 6-month weight loss program to determine whether loss of body mass would be correlated with improvements in bronchial reactivity, lung function, and disease-specific health status.

Results: Patients lost an average of 20 kg over the 6-month period. For every 10% relative loss of weight, the FVC improved by 92 mL (p = 0.05) and the FEV1 improved by 73 mL (p = 0.04), however, bronchial reactivity did not significantly change with weight loss (p = 0.23). Patients who lost > 13% of their pretreatment weight experienced improvements in FEV1 (p = 0.01), FVC (p = 0.02), and total lung capacity (p = 0.05) compared to patients in the lowest quartile who failed to lose significant amounts of weight. Neither group experienced any significant change in methacholine responsiveness (p = 0.57). Patients who completed the 6-month weight loss program experienced improvements in respiratory health status, irrespective of weight loss.

Conclusion: We concluded that weight loss can improve lung function in obese women, however, the improvements appear to be independent of changes in airway reactivity.

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