Judith Garcia Aymerich Head of the Non-Communicable Diseases and Environment Programme ISGlobal 

Obesity in Childhood Adversely Impacts Lung Development

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Judith Garcia Aymerich Head of the Non-Communicable Diseases and Environment Programme ISGlobal 

Dr. Garcia-Aymerich

Judith Garcia Aymerich
Head of the Non-Communicable Diseases and Environment Programme

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Several studies have assessed the associations of overweight and obesity with lung function in children and adolescents, but they have found contradictory results. An important limitation of these studies is that most of them considered only overall body weight and did not take into account for the different contribution of lean body mass and fat mass, and their relative proportions that vary by age and sex.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? 

Response: In this study we assess the association of body weight and composition trajectories, defined using repeated anthropometric and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scanner measures taken from age 7 to 15 years, with lung function at 15 years and lung function growth between 8 and 15 years, using data from the UK population-based Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) birth cohort.

We found that body composition trajectories from childhood to adolescence relate to lung function levels at 15 years and lung function growth rates from age 8 to 15 years. Specifically we found that:

– Higher levels of lean body mass relate to higher levels and growth rates of forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and forced expiratory flow at 25-75% of FVC (FEF25-75) in both sexes

– Higher fat mass was related to lower levels and growth rates of FEV1 and FEF25-75 in boys and to a lower FEV1/FVC ratio in both sexes

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our study shows that body composition in childhood and adolescence influences the development of lung function and, in consequence, it may also affect future respiratory health. Since body composition is affected by modifiable life style factors such as physical activity and diet, public health strategies promoting healthy life styles in early childhood may improve lung function and reduce respiratory morbidity in adult life. Such strategies should aim not only to reduce body weight but also to reduce fat mass and increase lean body mass.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Our study highlights the need of assessing body composition, and not only overall body weight, when studying the health effects of body weight in children and adolescents.

We have no disclosures.


American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, UK Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust, University of Bristol
Gabriela P Peralta , Elaine Fuertes , Raquel Granell , Osama Mahmoud , Célina Roda , Ignasi Serra ; ; Deborah Jarvis , John Henderson , and Judith Garcia-Aymerich


Received: June 26, 2018

Accepted: January 11, 2019
Published Online: January 11, 2019


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Last Updated on January 12, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD