HealthDay News — For premenopausal and postmenopausal women, obesity and abdominal obesity are associated with an increased risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, according to a study published online Feb. 21 in Menopause.

Chung-Woo Lee, M.D., from Korea University in Seoul, and colleagues conducted a nationwide population-based cohort study including 1,644,635 women ages 30 years and older without a diagnosis of COPD or asthma to examine the impact of body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) on COPD and asthma development. Baseline BMI and WC were measured, and the women were classified into five BMI and WC groups.

The researchers found that the high BMI and WC groups had a significantly higher incidence of COPD and asthma compared with the normal group, regardless of menopausal status (premenopausal or postmenopausal); the hazard ratios increased further as BMI and WC increased. However, among postmenopausal women, the hazard ratio was significantly higher in the underweight group. For both premenopausal and postmenopausal women, the hazard ratio for asthma was significantly higher in the obese group. For both premenopausal and postmenopausal women, the hazard ratio for COPD was significantly higher in the group with a WC of ≥95 cm; in this group, the hazard ratio for asthma was also significantly higher.


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“This study highlights yet another detrimental effect of obesity and abdominal adiposity in women and specifically identified that women with a high BMI and/or waist circumference had a greater risk of developing COPD and asthma,” Stephanie Faubion, M.D., medical director of the North American Menopause Society, said in a statement. “In addition to avoiding tobacco use, maintaining a healthy body weight and composition may help reduce the incidence of COPD and asthma in women.”

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