A study published today in the journal Thorax shows that women with a large waist are more likely to develop asthma even if they have a normal body weight. The US researchers also confirmed a link between excess weight and asthma severity and prevalence.
The study led by Northern California Cancer Centre’s Berkeley team of scientists, began in 1995 and used data from the California Teachers Study. Female participants answered questionnaires in 1995, 1997, 2000 and 2005 and the researchers analysed 88,304 women and found that 11,500 (13%) of them were obese in 1995, including 1,334 who were extremely obese.
The results showed that compared with women of normal weight – body mass index (BMI) below 25 – women who were obese were more than twice as likely to have adult onset asthma, and extremely obese women were more than three times more likely to have asthma.
The researchers also found that a large waist circumference (more than 88 cm) was associated with increased asthma prevalence even among women with a normal BMI.
In addition to this the study also showed that women who were obese and overweight were at greater risk of severe asthma attacks, shown by urgent medical visits and hospital admissions.
Dr Noemi Eiser, Honorary Medical Director for the British Lung Foundation said:
“This research shows how women with a large waist (more than 88cm) are more likely to develop asthma even if they have a normal body weight and how being obese can result in more severe asthma attacks.
“It reinforces the need for women to lead a healthy lifestyle and for them to be more aware of the health risks of having a large waist size”.
Press release courtesy of the British lung Foundation
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