Obese People Inhale More Air Pollutants than Healthy Weights, Study


Overweight people are more likely to develop asthma and other pulmonary diseases than their normal weight counterparts, according to a Université de Montréal's School of Public Health study.

Researchers found that obese people inhale seven to 50 percent more air than their slimmer mates. As a result, they breathe in more air pollutants like ammonia, sulphur dioxide, ozone and nitrogen dioxide - all respiratory irritants - that cause the development of respiratory diseases.

Among obese people, researchers said that children are at a greater risk of breathing in more air pollutants. Overweight children require air in larger quantities to maintain their daily functioning. Plus, they have a higher metabolism rate.

Previous studies showed that overweight and obese people face greater risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes and heart attacks when compared to people with healthy weights. The recent study has added health complications due to air pollutants to the existing list.

For this study, the researchers compared the data of 1,069 people (aged between five and 96) with the data from  902 individuals of healthy weight. These participants were then divided into five categories - normal weight, overweight, obese class 1, obese class 2 and obese class 3- based on their Body Mass Index (BMI). While comparing the data, the participants' age and gender were also taken into account.

The researchers found that overweight and obese adults inhale an average of seven to 50 percent more air per day when compared to healthy adults. Participants who belonged to the obese class 2 group with a BMI of 35 to 39 had the maximum average air inhalation. On the other hand, young children, who are on the heavier side, took in around 10 to 24 percent more air than their healthy weight counterparts.

Since overweight people inhale more air, the researchers concluded that more air pollutants penetrate into their body.

The researchers associated with the study are planning to continue with the study to determine how increased inhalation of air pollutants affected the overweight or obese individual's health.

"It remains to be seen if high inhalation rates are a factor in the development of asthma and other lung diseases in adults and children," Professor Dr. Pierre Brochu said, Medical Xpress reports.

The finding is published in the international journal Risk Analysis.

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