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Effect of obesity on pulmonary function tests in apparently healthy young women

Joyarani Devershetty, Sandhya Metta, Satyanarayana Uppala, Ganesh Kamble.

Background: Obesity is considered to affect the respiratory functions.

Objective: To evaluate the effect of obesity on pulmonary functions by spirometry among healthy young women.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 60 apparently healthy young women, who were further divided into two groups according to their body mass index (BMI). The first group consisted of nonobese subjects with a BMI of 18 to 24.9 kg/m2, and the second group consisted of obese subjects with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 and above. All the subjects underwent spirometry tests of the following variables such as the forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR), and forced midexpiratory flow (FEF25%75%).

Results: After analyzing the data and comparing by independent sample t test, we did not observe significant differences in FEV1, FVC, and FEF25%75% between the obese and nonobese subjects. However, there was a significant difference in FVC/FEV1 ratio and PEFR between the two groups (p = 0.036 and p = 0.048, respectively).

Conclusion: Obesity has an impact on respiratory functions even in younger age group; therefore, they should be safeguarded against the hazards of obesity by taking corrective steps through our health programs.

Key words: Obese women, spirometry, body mass index, peak expiratory flow rate

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