The chronic disease of asthma affects tens of millions of Americans, many of whom are obese. Asthma can result in a variety of medical complications, including severe coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, rapid pulse, chest pain and decreased level of alertness. A new study from New Zealand has found that these symptoms are often times more severe in obese individuals.


Researchers studied a group of 30 asthmatic women and divided them into three groups based upon BMI: normal weight, overweight and obese. Asthma-like attacks were then induced in each woman, and changes in lung function were assessed. The results indicated that obese women had greater breathing difficulties and did not inhale as deeply as normal weight individuals.


Sutherland TJ, Cowan JO and Taylor DR. (2008). Dynamic hyperinflation with bronchoconstriction: Differences between obese and nonobese women with asthma. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 177, 970-5.