There's more bad news for people who carry excess weight around their waists: Not only is abdominal obesity associated with diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and a host of other health problems collectively known as "metabolic syndrome," a new study has found that a high waist circumference is strongly associated with decreased lung functionindependent of smoking history, sex, body mass index (BMI) and other complicating factors.
The study analyzed health information on more that 120,000 people from the Paris Investigations Preventives et Cliniques Center, and assessed demographic background, smoking history, alcohol consumption, as well as lung function, including FEV1 (forced expiratory volume in one second) and FVC (forced vital capacity, or the total expiratory volume) with respect to BMI, waist circumference and other measures of metabolic health.
The results were published in the second issue for March of the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
"After adjustment for age, sex, BMI, smoking status, alcohol consumption, leisure time physical activity and cardiovascular history, metabolic syndrome remained independently associated with lung function impairment," wrote lead author Natalie Leone, M.D., of French National Institute for Health and Medical Research. "We found a positive independent relationship between lung function impairment and metabolic syndrome due mainly to abdominal obesity."
Abdominal obesity was defined as having a waist circumference of greater than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men.
"[This] study demonstrated that only mild abdominal adiposity, even with a normal body mass index (BMI), in associated with lower FVC," said Paul Enright, M.D., of the University of Arizona, in an accompanying editorial.
While the cross-sectional study was not able to address causality or temporal associations, the authors
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American Thoracic Society