Obesity Linked to Asthma in Latest Study

Obesity often underlies other serious medical conditions. Now a new study shows obesity can more than double the risk of asthma.

A new study conducted by the Palo Alto Medical Research Institute confirms a connection between asthma and obesity.

Researchers led by Dr. Jun Ma examined about 4,500 men and women from the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Of those, researchers found that about one third were overweight while another third were obese.

Eight percent suffered from asthma and 41 percent had some type of allergy. According to the study, 12 percent of those who were obese also had asthma, compared to only six percent of normal weight participants. It was discovered also that the likelihood of asthma increased as the person’s body mass index (BMI) increased.

The risk of asthma was three times as high for those who were considered most obese, when compared to men and women of a normal weight. Thirty seven percent of participants with asthma also had diabetes or a resistance to insulin; however, whether someone had allergies was not related to weight or insulin resistance, the study showed.

The exact relationship between asthma and obesity is still not completely understood. Some scientists believe that the low-grade inflammation that occurs in obese individuals is a factor, while others speculate that resistance to insulin, a side effect of excess weight, may be the reason for the connection between asthma and obesity.

Scientist do agree that more research is needed before they can pinpoint the definite reason for the higher risk of asthma among people who suffer from obesity. Findings on the latest study appear in the medical journal Allergy.

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