Does Obesity Increase Respiratory Tract Infections in Patients with Asthma?

Journal Issue (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Because respiratory tract infections (RTIs) precede most exacerbations, a better understanding of the risk factors of RTIs and RTI-associated exacerbations in patients with asthma is a pressing public health need. Obesity in patients with asthma is associated with worse asthma control and higher asthma-associated health care utilization, but its effect on RTI risk is unknown. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to study the association of body mass index (BMI) classification on the risk of self-reported RTIs and related asthma morbidity among adults and children with asthma. METHODS: This post hoc analysis of 5 large asthma trials involving 747 children and 1287 adults compared BMI classification, defined as lean, overweight, and obese based on age-appropriate BMI and BMI-percentile conventions. The primary outcome was rate of visits with RTIs. Secondary asthma outcomes included upper respiratory infection (URI) severity, systemic steroid use, and health care contact. RESULTS: Children had 1.4 times the rate of RTI compared with adults (95% confidence interval 1.27-1.56). In all participants, BMI classification did not affect the rate of visits with RTI. In children, BMI classification did not affect URI severity, all-cause asthma events, or RTI-associated asthma events. However, in adults, higher BMI classification was associated with an increase in moderate/severe URI (P = .02). Adults with higher BMI classification also had increased rates of all-cause and RTI-associated asthma exacerbations requiring systemic steroids and health care contact. CONCLUSIONS: BMI classification was not associated with an increased risk of RTIs in children or adults. In adults only, obesity was associated with increased URI severity and all-cause and RTI-associated asthma morbidity.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Tang, M; Henderson, RJ; Holbrook, JT; Que, LG; Mathews, AM; Wise, RA; Dixon, AE; Peters, SP; Rogers, L; Smith, LJ; Teague, WG; Lang, JE

Published Date

  • March 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 7 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 954 - 961.e6

PubMed ID

  • 30312805

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6609096

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2213-2201

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jaip.2018.09.033


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States