The Relationship Between Body Weight and Objective Measures of Airway Obstruction in Children

Rashed A. Hasan1, *, Walid Abuhammour2, George Y. Zureikat3
1 University of Toledo Medical School, Director of Research, Pediatric Critical Care, St. Vincent Mercy Children’s Hospital, Toledo, Ohio, USA
2 Michigan State University, Hurley Medical Center, Flint, MI, USA
3 Michigan State University, Pediatric Critical Care and Pulmonary Medicine, Hurley Medical Center, Flint, MI, USA

© 2009 Hasan et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the University of Toledo Medical School, Pediatric Critical Care, St., Vincent Mercy Children’s Hospital, 2213 Cherry Street, Toledo, Ohio, OH 43608-2603, USA; Tel: 419-251- 4855; Fax: 419-251-3264; E-mail:



The purpose of this study was to describe the effects of obesity (body mass index ≥ 95th percentile) on objective measures of airway obstruction as determined by spirometry.


Prospective cross-sectional study.


Two hundred ninty six (Age: 13.6 ± 1.5 Years) children from two middle schools were enrolled. The standing heights and weights in bear-feet were measured, and body mass index (BMI) was calculated. Spirometry was performed according to the American Thoracic Society guidelines. The definition of reversible airway obstruction was based on the following criteria: forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) < 80% predicted, and FEV1/forced vital capacity (FVC) > 5% lower than predicted for age and sex.


Two-hundred-twenty-six children (76%) were African-American and 71 children (24%) were white. 138 (46%) children were obese. 36/296 (12%) children met the criteria for reversible airway obstruction, of which 29/296 (9.7%) were obese. Baseline FEV1 percent predicted (88 ± 6 vs 84 ± 7 %, p = 0.03), FEV1 /FVC(94 ± 6 vs 86 ± 8, p < 0.001), and FEV1 percent predicted following albuterol administration (95 ± 7 vs 88 ± 7 %, p = 0.03) were all lower in children who were obese.


There is an association between obesity and reversible airway obstruction as demonstrated by spirometry in children.

Keywords: Asthma, children, obesity, spirometry.