A new study has found that women’s risk of asthma increases with obesity. Almost nine percent of Americans have asthma. Normal-weight individuals have a seven percent incidence of asthma, compared to eight percent rates among those who are overweight. Among obese Americans, 11 percent were found to have asthma.
Obese women in particular had the highest rates of asthma – 15 percent. Lead researcher from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Lara Akinbami said, “Why obese people are more likely to have asthma is unknown. We just know they have a higher risk. [What is clear is] obesity is the risk for asthma, not the other way around.”
It is still unknown whether or not weight loss can improve asthma outcomes, but there is a possibility that controlling obesity can at least help improve asthma. Akinbami added, “This study really confirms that obesity is a risk factor for asthma — they are very tightly linked.”
The researchers examined data from the 2001-2014 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and found that 15 percent of obese women also had asthma, compared to eight percent of normal-weight women and nine percent of overweight women. The same findings were not uncovered in men.
Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, added that being overweight makes it more difficult to breathe and suggests losing weight can improve outcomes. “There are many reasons not to get obese. The fear of asthma is not at the top of the list. High blood pressure and diabetes are above that, but sure, asthma is another reason,” Dr. Horovitz concluded.