The effect of gender on the relationship between body fat distribution and lung function

Raida I. Harik-Khan, Robert A. Wise, Jerome L. Fleg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Although abdominal obesity, as measured by waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), has long been recognized as a risk factor for metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, little is known about the effect of WHR on pulmonary function, especially in women. In this study of 1094 men and 540 women (18-102 years) from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA), we examined the effect of WHR on forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1). Cross-sectional analyses, after accounting for body mass index (BMI) and other variables, showed a strong inverse association of WHR with FEV1 in men (β = -1.338, P=.0001) but not in women. Furthermore, larger values of WHR were associated with greater reductions of forced vital capacity (FVC) in men (β = -1.383, P = .0005) compared to women (β = -0.679, P = .02). Thus, body fat distribution has independent effects on lung function that are more prominent in men than women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-406
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 26 2001



  • Body fat distribution
  • FEV
  • FVC
  • Lung function
  • Obesity
  • WHR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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