Association between obesity and asthma in the elderly population: Potential roles of abdominal subcutaneous adiposity and sarcopenia

Woo Jung Song, Sae Hoon Kim, Soo Lim, Young Joo Park, Min Hye Kim, Sang Min Lee, Seok Bum Lee, Ki Woong Kim, Hak Chul Jang, Sang Heon Cho, Kyung Up Min, Yoon Seok Chang

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53 Scopus citations


Background: Obesity is a significant risk factor for asthma; however, the association of asthma with obesity has rarely been studied in the elderly population. The role of central obesity has been suggested as a link between the 2 entities but has not been comprehensively studied in elderly populations. Objective: To investigate the mechanisms of association between obesity and asthma in the elderly population. Methods: This cross-sectional analysis included 994 participants (aged <65 years) in the Korean Longitudinal Study on Health and Aging. Asthma was defined by using questionnaires. Spirometry and chest radiography were performed to exclude asthma-mimicking conditions. Measurements of abdominal subcutaneous and visceral fat were calculated by computed tomography of the abdomen, and regional body compositions were measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Biochemical parameters were also measured. Results: The prevalence of asthma was 5.4%. The study population had a mean body mass index (BMI) of 24.0. Multivariate logistic regression tests revealed that the risk of asthma increased in proportion to an increase in BMI or abdominal subcutaneous adiposity. However, no association was found with visceral adiposity, serum adiponectin levels, or serum vitamin D levels. The dual energy X-ray absorptiometry-measured appendicular fat-free mass index was inversely related to asthma among patients with a BMI of 25.0 or greater. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that the relationships between obesity and asthma in the elderly population may be mediated by factors such as abdominal subcutaneous adiposity and sarcopenia. These associations warrant further investigations to identify their potential roles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-248
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding Sources: This study was supported by the Grant for Developing Seongnam Health Promotion Program for the Elderly from Seongnam City Government in Republic of Korea (grant No. 800-20050211 ) and the Grant from the Korean Health 21 R&D Project, Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family Affairs in Republic of Korea (grant No. A102065 ).


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