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Liang Wang Reports on the Relationship of Obesity and Asthma in Respiratory Medicine

Dr. Liang Wang

Dr. Liang Wang, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology of the East Tennessee State University (ETSU) College of Public Health, is lead author on a report in the June 9, 2015 edition of Respiratory Medicine. The article is titled “Sex difference in the association between obesity and asthma in U.S. adults: Findings from a national study”.  Using data from the 2012 National Health Interview Study, the authors examined the association between obesity and asthma and whether the obesity-asthma relationship differed by sex.  Data were obtained from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (n = 33,153 adults, 4,197 had asthma).

In the United States, the prevalence of asthma and obesity has increased significantly over the past two decades.  The 2011–2012 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data showed that 34.9% of adults aged 20 years or older were obese.  The annual medical burden of obesity has risen to almost one tenth of all medical spending and is estimated to be as high as $147 billion per year in 2008. However, few population-based U.S. studies have examined the association between obesity and asthma by sex.

This study highlights the findings as follows:

  • The prevalence of asthma was higher in women than men in the US.
  • Sex difference in the association was observed between Class III obesity and asthma.
  • Positive associations between Class II and Class III obesity and asthma were observed among young and middle-aged women.
  • Obesity (and BMI) was positively associated with asthma, overall or stratified by allergic status.
  • Obesity and sex may be taken into consideration for the management of asthmatic patients.

Additional authors include Kesheng Wang, Associate Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, ETSU; Xiang Gao, Associate Professor of Nutrition, The Pennsylvania State University; Timir K. Paul, Assistant Professor of Medicine, ETSU; Jianwei Cai, Professor of Biostatistics, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Youfa Wang, Professor of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, University at Buffalo, State University of New York.

Respiratory Medicine is an internationally-renowned journal devoted to the rapid publication of clinically-relevant respiratory medicine research. 

"In the United States, the prevalence of asthma and obesity has increased significantly over the past two decades.  The 2011–2012 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data showed that 34.9% of adults aged 20 years or older were obese."

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