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Original Research: Pulmonary Physiology |

Trends in the Prevalence of Obstructive and Restrictive Lung Function Among Adults in the United StatesObstructive and Restrictive Lung Function: Findings From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys From 1988-1994 to 2007-2010

Earl S. Ford, MD, MPH; David M. Mannino, MD, FCCP; Anne G. Wheaton, PhD; Wayne H. Giles, MD; Letitia Presley-Cantrell, PhD; Janet B. Croft, PhD
Author and Funding Information

From the Division of Population Health (Drs Ford, Wheaton, Giles, Presley-Cantrell, and Croft), National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA; and the Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health (Dr Mannino), University of Kentucky College of Public Health, Lexington, KY.

Correspondence to: Earl S. Ford, MD, MPH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway, MS K67, Atlanta, GA 30341; e-mail: eford@cdc.gov


Funding/Support: The authors have reported to CHEST that no funding was received for this study.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2013;143(5):1395-1406. doi:10.1378/chest.12-1135
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Background:  National spirometric surveillance data in the United States were last collected during 1988-1994. The objective of this study was to provide current estimates for obstructive and restrictive impairment of lung function and to examine changes since 1988-1994.

Methods:  We used data from 14,360 participants aged 20 to 79 years from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III (1988-1994) and 9,024 participants from NHANES 2007-2010. Spirometry was conducted using the same spirometers and generally similar protocols.

Results:  During 2007-2010, 13.5% (SE, 0.6) of participants had evidence of airway obstruction (FEV1/FVC < 0.70): 79.9% of adults had normal lung function, 6.5% had a restrictive impairment, 7.5% had mild obstruction, 5.4% had moderate obstruction, and 0.7% had severe obstruction. Although the overall age-adjusted prevalence of any obstruction did not change significantly from 1988-1994 (14.6%) to 2007-2010 (13.5%) (P = .178), significant decreases were noted for participants aged 60 to 79 years and for Mexican Americans. The prevalence of current smoking remained high among participants with moderate (48.4%) and severe (37.9%) obstructive impairments. A significant decline in current smoking occurred only among those with normal lung function (P < .05).

Conclusion:  Spirometry revealed little change in the prevalence of any obstructive and restrictive impairment in lung function during 2007-2010, compared with 1988-1994.

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