THURSDAY, Dec. 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Obesity is strongly associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in never-smokers, according to a study published online Nov. 20 in the Journal of Obesity.

Esme Fuller-Thomson, Ph.D., from the University of Toronto, and colleagues used data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to assess the association between COPD and levels of obesity among non-Hispanic white respondents aged 50 years and older (76,004 women, 37,618 men) who reported they had never smoked.

The researchers observed a dose-response relationship for both men and women, with the prevalence of COPD increasing from 2.5 and 3.5 percent in men and women, respectively, who were of a healthy weight (body mass index [BMI] <25 kg/m²) to 7.6 and 13.4 percent in men and women, respectively, who had a BMI of ≥40 kg/m². The odds of COPD were 3.21 times higher for men and 4.0 times higher for women with class III obesity versus those with a healthy weight, even after adjustment for potential confounders (e.g., age, education, and income).

“Regular screening for COPD is warranted in never-smoking obese patients who are aged 50 and over,” the authors write.

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