Journal Article

Body Mass Index in Relation to Adult Asthma among 135,000 Norwegian Men and Women

Wenche Nystad, Haakon E. Meyer, Per Nafstad, Aage Tverdal and Anders Engeland

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 160, issue 10, pages 969-976
Published in print November 2004 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online November 2004 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwh303
Body Mass Index in Relation to Adult Asthma among 135,000 Norwegian Men and Women

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The authors estimated the association between asthma and body mass index in a 1963–2002 study of 135,000 Norwegians aged 14–60 years who were followed on average for 21 years. Cox proportional hazards regression models were fitted to estimate the relative risk of asthma adjusting for smoking, education, and physical activity. Compared with persons with a body mass index (weight (kg)/height (m)2) of less than 25, overweight (body mass index: 25–29) men and women had relative risks of asthma of 1.27 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.13, 1.43) and 1.30 (95% CI: 1.17, 1.45), respectively, while obese (body mass index: ≥30) men and women had relative risks of 1.78 (95% CI: 1.35, 2.34) and 1.99 (95% CI: 1.67, 2.37), respectively. Stratified analyses revealed a similar association between body mass index and asthma for never smokers, ever smokers, persons with less than or equal to 12 years of education, and persons with more than 12 years of education. Analyses including all the covariates gave results similar to those not adjusting for these factors. The risk of asthma increased steadily with body mass index, from a body mass index of 20 in men and of 22 in women. In men, the risk of asthma increased by 10% with each unit of increased body mass index between 25 and 30. The similar value for women was 7%. Overweight or obese persons reported asthma more often than did thinner persons after adjustment for smoking, education, and physical activity.

Keywords: asthma; body mass index; cohort studies; obesity; Abbreviation: CI, confidence interval.

Journal Article.  4296 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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