Weight gain associated with accelerated lung function decline in adulthood

February 24, 2020

Barcelona, 24 February 2020. Lung function declines naturally over the course of the human lifespan. However, this decline is steeper in individuals who experience moderate or high weight gain. This was the conclusion of a new study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), a centre supported by "la Caixa", which analysed the effect of weight changes on respiratory health over a 20-year period.

The study, published in the journal Thorax, was based on data collected from 3,700 participants living in different countries in Europe and in Australia and recruited between the ages of 20 and 44 years. Participants repeatedly underwent measurements of weight and lung function--by means of spirometry--between 1991 and 2014. "Although previous research has shown that weight gain is linked to lung function decline, ours is the first study to analyse such a varied population sample over a longer period of time," commented Judith Garcia Aymerich, leader of the study and head of the Non-communicable Diseases and Environment programme at ISGlobal. Most earlier studies have had relatively short follow-up periods--ten years at the most--and focused on adults up to 50 years of age.

The study found that people with a body mass index within the recommended rates, overweight people and obese people all experienced accelerated lung function decline when they gained weight. Conversely, weight loss helped to attenuate lung function decline in obese people. Moreover, people who kept their weight low throughout adulthood exhibited a much less pronounced decline in respiratory health.

Two mechanisms could explain the association between weight gain and pulmonary health. First, weight gain can affect lung function through mechanical effects. "Abdominal and thoracic fat mass is likely to limit the room for lung expansion during inspiration," commented ISGlobal researcher Gabriela Prado Peralta, lead author of the study. Second, weight gain can impair lung function through inflammatory processes, since adipose tissue--the area where fat accumulates--is a source of inflammatory substances that can damage lung tissue and reduce airway diameter.

Maintaining good lung function during adulthood is crucial to prevent chronic respiratory diseases, which nowadays represent a serious public health problem around the world. "Given the epidemic levels of overweight and obesity that we are currently seeing, it is fundamental to understand the effects of weight changes on lung function, which is a powerful predictor of morbidity and mortality in the general population," commented Garcia Aymerich. "The good news is that the negative pulmonary health effects of excess weight and obesity can be reversed through weight loss. Therefore, public health policies that promote healthy lifestyles can be the key to achieving good pulmonary health."

The study formed part of the Ageing Lungs in European Cohorts (ALEC) Study, coordinated by Imperial College London. It was financed by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Gabriela P. Peralta, Alessandro Marcon, Anne-Elie Carsin, Michael J Abramson, Simone Accordini, André FS Amaral, Josep M. Antó, Gayan Bowatte, Peter Burney, Angelo Corsico, Pascal Demoly, Shyamali Dharmage, Bertil Forsberg, Elaine Fuertes, Vanessa Garcia-Larsen, Thorarinn Gíslason, José-Antonio Gullón, Joachim Heinrich, Mathias Holm, Deborah L. Jarvis, Christer Janson, Rain Jogi, Ane Johannessen, Bénédicte Leynaert, Jesús Martínez-Moratalla Rovira, Dennis Nowak, Nicole Probst-Hensch, Chantal Raherison, José-Luis Sánchez-Ramos, Torben Sigsgaard, Valérie Siroux, Giulia Squillacioti, Isabel Urrutia, Joost Weyler, Jan-Paul Zock, Judith Garcia-Aymerich.. Body mass index and weight change are associated with adult lung function trajectories: the prospective ECRHS study. Thorax. February 2020.

About ISGlobal

The Barcelona Institute of Global Health (ISGlobal) is the result of an innovative alliance between "la Caixa" and academic and government institutions. The Institute was set up to contribute to the work undertaken by the international community to address global health challenges. The Barcelona Institute of Global Health (ISGlobal) is the result of an innovative alliance between "la Caixa" and academic and government institutions. The Institute was set up to contribute to the work undertaken by the international community to address global health challenges. The pivotal mechanism of its work model is the transfer of knowledge generated by scientific research to practice, a task undertaken by the Institute's Education, Policy and Global Development departments. ISGlobal is accredited as a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence and is a member of CERCA, the Catalan Government's network of research centres.

Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal)

Related Weight Loss Articles from Brightsurf:

Weight loss shouldn't be the goal of PE
For adults, the goal of exercise is often to shed some pounds, but new research from the University of Georgia suggests the objective should be different for kids.

How long should you fast for weight loss?
Two daily fasting diets, also known as time-restricted feeding diets, are effective for weight loss, according to a new study.

Green tea may help with weight loss efforts
In an analysis published in Phytotherapy Research of randomized controlled trials, individuals who consumed green tea experienced a significant decline in body weight and body mass index.

Changing weight-loss strategies, attempts
The proportion of adults who tried to lose weight in the previous year increased from 1999 to 2016 but the findings of this observational study suggest the results may have been unsatisfactory.

Quality of life changes after weight loss
Obesity increases a number of adverse health consequences including reduced health-related quality of life.

Weight loss medicines underutilized by veterans
Despite the availability of new weight management medications and several clinical guidelines recommending their use as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for obesity, a new study has found that their use is extremely low (about one percent) among eligible Veterans.

Is the most effective weight-loss strategy really that hard?
Dietary self-monitoring is the best predictor of weight-loss success. But the practice is viewed as so unpleasant and time-consuming, many would-be weight-losers won't adopt it.

Study: Faster weight loss no better than slow weight loss for health benefits
Losing weight slowly or quickly won't tip the scale in your favor when it comes to overall health, according to new research.

Mindfulness training may help support weight loss
Mindfulness training may improve the effectiveness of intensive weight management programs, according to a small study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Does weight loss before surgery provide benefits?
For obese and overweight patients, it is common for various surgical procedures to be deferred until they have lost weight through diet and exercise.

Read More: Weight Loss News and Weight Loss Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.