Thorax 58:1036-1041 doi:10.1136/thorax.58.12.1036
  • Asthma

Association of body mass with pulmonary function in the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP)

  1. K G Tantisira,
  2. A A Litonjua,
  3. S T Weiss,
  4. A L Fuhlbrigge,
  5. for the Childhood Asthma Management Program Research Group
  1. Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr K G Tantisira
    Channing Laboratory, 181 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA;
  • Accepted 11 July 2003
  • Revised 4 June 2003


Background: While increases in body mass index (BMI) have been associated with the incidence and prevalence of asthma, the mechanisms behind this association are unclear.

Methods: We hypothesised that BMI would be independently associated with measures of asthma severity in a population of children with mild to moderate asthma enrolled in the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP). A multivariable baseline cross sectional analysis of BMI with our outcomes of interest was performed.

Results: BMI was generally not associated with symptoms, nor was it associated with atopy. While BMI was positively associated with the methacholine concentration that causes a 20% fall in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (PC20FEV1), this association did not persist after adjustment for FEV1. Increasing BMI was associated with increasing FEV1 (β = 0.006 l, 95% CI (0.001 to 0.01)) and forced vital capacity (FVC) (β = 0.012 l, 95% CI (0.007 to 0.017)). However, decrements in the FEV1/FVC ratio were noted with increasing BMI (β = −0.242, 95% CI (−0.118 to −0.366)). Thus, an increase in BMI of 5 units was associated with a decrease in FEV1/FVC of over 1%.

Conclusions: Although the association of FEV1 and FVC with BMI did not support our initial hypothesis, the decrease noted in the FEV1/FVC ratio has potential relevance in the relationship between BMI and asthma severity.


  • Funding: The Childhood Asthma Management Program is supported by contracts NO1-HR-16044, 16045, 16046, 16047, 16048, 16049, 16050, 16051, and 16052 with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and General Clinical Research Center grants M01RR00051, M01RR0099718-24, M01RR02719-14, and RR00036 from the National Center for Research Resources.