The relationship between physical functional capacity and lung function in obese children and adolescents

The relationship between physical functional capacity and lung function in obese children and adolescents


There is no consensus regarding obesity repercussions for lung function in children and adolescents. Therefore, the aim of the study was to determine whether obesity is associated with poor physical conditioning and damaged lung function in children and adolescents, and to correlate lung function with six-minute walk test (6MWT) results. 

Methods: This cross-sectional study included 38 obese subjects of both sexes, ranging between 5 and 17 years of age, as well as 56 control subjects paired by sex and age for the 6MWT, and 39 subjects for spirometry.

Subjects performed spirometry according to the guidelines of the American Thoracic Society (ATS) and the European Respiratory Society. The obese group repeated spirometry after receiving bronchodilator (BD) treatments.

Physical performance was evaluated via the 6MWT according to ATS guidelines. 

Results: The obese group demonstrated lower forced expiratory volumes in the first second compared with the control group based on forced vital capacity indices (p <0.01), findings consistent with airway obstruction in 36.8% of patients in the obese group. Walking distances were shorter in the obese group than in the control group.

Changes in lung function did not correlate directly with performance on the 6MWT among obese patients. However, there was a correlation between lung function and variables indicative of effort during exercise. 

Conclusion: In the present study, the obese group walked shorter distances and demonstrated lower values in some markers of lung function.

However, there is no relationship between their physical conditions and these test results. Therefore, we cannot conclusively state that poor physical performance results from damaged pulmonary function.

Author: Mariana Simões FerreiraRoberto Teixeira MendesFernando Augusto de Lima MarsonMariana Porto ZambonIlma Aparecida PaschoalAdyleia Aparecida ToroSilvana Dalge SeverinoMaria Ângela de Oliveira RibeiroJosé Dirceu Ribeiro
Credits/Source: BMC Pulmo