Weight history from birth through childhood and youth in relation to adult lung function, in Danish juvenile obese and non-obese men

J. Bua, E. Prescott, L. Schack-Nielsen, L. Petersen, N. S. Godtfredsen, T. I A Sørensen, M. Osler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To investigate the associations of birth weight, body mass index (BMI) during childhood and youth, and current BMI with adult lung function. DESIGN: Population-based longitudinal study of juvenile obese and non-obese men, who were identified at draft board examination (age range: 19-27 y) and who participated in a follow-up examination in 1981-1983 (age range: 25-48 y). Birth weight, childhood weight and height measurements from 7 to 13 y of age were obtained from school health records. Current BMI and lung function were assessed at follow-up. SETTING: Copenhagen and adjacent regions, Denmark. SUBJECTS: In total, 193 juvenile obese men at draft board examination and 205 randomly selected nonobese controls from the same population. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Lung function measured by forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV 1) and forced vital capacity (FVC), adjusted for age and height. RESULTS: After adjusting for current BMI, smoking and education, birth weight was positively related to FEV 1, although only with borderline statistical significance. BMI at age 7 y was positively associated with both FEV 1 and FVC, whereas BMI at later ages in childhood and in youth was not associated with these measures. There was a strong negative linear relation between current BMI and lung function among those currently overweight and obese (BMI 25 kg/m 2), whereas no association was seen in the non-obese (BMI 2). CONCLUSION: Our findings confirm the detrimental effect of high current BMI on adult lung function, and further suggest that early childhood growth has a protective influence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1055-1062
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2005


  • Adult lung function
  • Birth weight
  • Body mass index
  • Life course

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Endocrinology
  • Food Science
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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