Obesity and asthma are chronic diseases that afflict millions of individuals throughout the world. Obesity appears to be associated with an increased risk of asthma in both illnesses. The goal of this review is to outline the mechanism(s) that might explain the link between asthma and fat.

According to current evidence, the link between asthma and obesity is linked by two major phenotypes and three important pathways of obesity-related asthma: one phenotype with primary asthma that is aggravated by obesity, and a second phenotype with late-onset nonatopic asthma, which primarily affects women and appears to be associated with neutrophilic inflammation. The mechanical effects of obesity, an inflammatory pathway driven by obesity-related cytokines, and finally environmental and lifestyle changes that have led to an increase in obesity prevalence over the last 50 years may also result in asthma in predisposed individuals are among the proposed pathways. The age of exposure and combinations with genetic susceptibilities may determine how these environmental alterations influence the prevalence and development of asthma.


Future studies should focus on the links between obesity and asthma phenotypes, modern lifestyles and environmental exposures, and genetic susceptibility.