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Complex interactions in complex traits: obesity and asthma
  1. K G Tantisira,
  2. S T Weiss
  1. Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA
  1. Professor S T Weiss

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Introductory article

Immediate and long term effects of weight reduction in obese people with asthma: randomised controlled study

B Stenius-Aarniala, T Poussa, J Kvarnstrom, E L Gronlund, M Ylikahri, P Mustajoki

Objective: To investigate the influence of weight reduction on obese patients with asthma. Design: Open study, two randomised parallel groups. Setting: Private outpatients centre, Helsinki, Finland. Participants: Two groups of 19 obese patients with asthma (body mass index (kg/m2) 30 to 42) recruited through newspaper advertisements. Intervention: Supervised weight reduction programme including 8 week very low energy diet. Main outcome measures: Body weight, morning peak expiratory flow (PEF), forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1); and also asthma symptoms, number of acute episodes, courses of oral steroids, health status (quality of life). Results: At the end of the weight reducing programme, the participants in the treatment group had lost a mean of 14.5% of their pretreatment weight, the controls 0.3%. The corresponding figures after one year were 11.3% and a weight gain of 2.2%. After the 8 week dieting period the difference in changes in percentage of predicted FEV1from baseline in the treatment and control groups was 7.2% (95% confidence interval 1.9% to 12.5%, P=0. 009). The corresponding difference in the changes in FVC was 8.6% (4. 8% to 12.5%, P<0.0001). After one year the differences in the changes in the two groups were still significant: 7.6% for FEV1 (1. 5% to 13.8%, P=0.02) and 7.6% for FVC (3.5% to 11.8%, P=0.001). By the end of the weight reduction programme, reduction in dyspnoea was 13 mm (on a visual analogue scale 0 mm to 100 mm) in the treatment group and 1 mm in the control group (P=0.02). The reduction of rescue medication was 1.2 and 0.1 doses respectively (P=0.03). After one …

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