Abdominal and general adiposity and level of asthma control in adults with uncontrolled asthma

Nan Lv, Lan Xiao, Carlos A. Camargo, Sandra R. Wilson, A. Sonia Buist, Peg Strub, Kari C. Nadeau, Jun Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Rationale: Abdominal adiposity may be an important risk factor for uncontrolled asthma in adults, controlling for general obesity. Whether the relationship, if present, is explained by other factors (e.g., asthma onset age, sex, and/or coexisting conditions) is unclear. Objectives: To examine whether clinically applicable anthropometric measures of abdominal adiposity-waist circumference and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR)-are related to poorer asthma control in adults with uncontrolled asthma controlling for body mass index (BMI), and whether the relationship (if present) is explained by gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), sleep quality, or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or differs by age of asthma onset or sex. Methods: Patients aged 18 to 70 years with uncontrolled asthma (n = 90) participated in a 6-month randomized clinical trial. Measurements and Main Results: Baseline measures included sociodemographics, standardized anthropometrics, Asthma Control Test (ACT), GERD Symptom Assessment Scale, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and Berlin Questionnaire for Sleep Apnea. Participants (mean [SD] age, 52 [12] yr) were racially and ethnically diverse, 67% women, and 69% overweight or obese, and 71% reported their age of asthma onset was 12 years or older. Participants had uncontrolled asthma (mean [SD] ACT score, 14.9 [3.7]) and low GERD symptoms score (0.6 [0.4]); 67% reported poor sleep quality, and 42% had a high OSA risk. General linear regression results showed that worse ACT scores were significantly associated with every SD increase in waist circumference (β= -1.03; 95% confidence interval [CI], -1.96 to -0.16; P = 0.02) and waist-to-height ratio (β= -1.16; 95% CI, -2.00 to -0.33; P = 0.008), controlling for sociodemographics. Waist-to-height ratio remained correlated with ACT (β= -2.30; 95% CI, -4.16 to -0.45; P = 0.02) after further adjusting for BMI. The BMI-controlled relationship between WHtR and ACT did not differ by age of asthma onset or sex (P > 0.05 for interactions) and persisted after additional adjustment for GERD, sleep quality, or OSA scores. Poor sleep quality was associated with worse ACT scores (β= -0.87; 95% CI, -1.71 to -0.03; P = 0.045) controlling for waist-toheight ratio, BMI, and sociodemographics. Conclusions: Abdominal adiposity by waist-to-height ratio and poor sleep quality correlated with poorer asthma control in adults with uncontrolled asthma, after controlling for BMI and sociodemographics. These results warrant replication in larger studies of diverse populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1218-1224
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of the American Thoracic Society
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014


  • Abdominal obesity
  • Asthma
  • Body mass index
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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