Research Papers

Obesity and Asthma: Is There a Link?


This paper is a systematic review that summarizes the evidence on obesity and asthma and how they are related, as current literature displays mixed results on the association. A total of sixteen studies were included in the analysis. When looking at body-mass index, weight change and waist circumference, there was a significant association present between higher levels of adiposity and the risk of asthma. The results also showed consistency amongst the included sixteen studies. Therefore, the authors have concluded that being overweight or obese, having an increased waist circumference and weight gain all increase the risk of developing asthma.

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Obesity has been associated with increased risk of adult asthma, however, not all studies have found a clear association between overweight and the incidence of asthma, and data on other adiposity measures have been limited. Hence, we aimed to summarize evidence on association between adiposity and adult asthma. Relevant studies were retrieved through searches conducted in PubMed, and EMBASE up to March 2021. A total of sixteen studies (63,952 cases and 1,161,169 participants) were included in the quantitative synthesis. The summary RR was 1.32 (95% CI 1.21–1.44, I2 = 94.6%, pheterogeneity < 0.0001, n = 13) per 5 kg/m2 increase in BMI, 1.26 (95% CI 1.09–1.46, I2 = 88.6%, pheterogeneity < 0.0001, n = 5) per 10 cm increase in waist circumference and 1.33 (95% CI 1.22–1.44, I2 = 62.3%, pheterogeneity= 0.05, n = 4) per 10 kg increase in weight gain. Although the test for nonlinearity was significant for BMI (pnonlinearity < 0.00001), weight change (pnonlinearity = 0.002), and waist circumference (pnonlinearity = 0.02), there was a clear dose-response relationship between higher levels of adiposity and asthma risk. The magnitude of the associations and the consistency of the results across studies and adiposity measures provide strong evidence that overweight and obesity, waist circumference and weight gain increases asthma risk. These findings support policies to curb the global epidemic of overweight and obesity.


Article Publication Date: 12/5/2023
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-31373-6

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