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Obesity and exercise habits of asthmatic patients.

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2008 Nov;101(5):488-94. Westermann H, Choi TN, Briggs WM, Charlson ME, Mancuso CA. Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York, USA.

BACKGROUND: National guidelines recommend 20 to 30 minutes of exercise 3 to 5 days a week. However, achieving these goals may be challenging for asthmatic patients whose symptoms are exacerbated by exercise.

OBJECTIVE: To describe relationships among exercise habits, weight, and asthma severity and control in adults with asthma.

METHODS: Self-reported exercise habits were obtained from 258 stable patients by using the Paffenbarger Physical Activity and Exercise Index. Disease status was measured by using the Asthma Control Questionnaire and the Severity of Asthma Scale. Exercise habits were evaluated in multivariate analyses with age, sex, education, body mass index, and asthma control and severity as independent variables.

RESULTS: The mean patient age was 42 years; 75% were women, 62% were college graduates, and 40% were obese. Only 44% of patients did any exercise. In bivariate analysis, patients with well-controlled asthma were more likely to exercise; however, in multivariate analysis, asthma control and severity were not associated, but male sex (P = .01), having more education (P = .04), and not being obese (P < .001) were associated. Asthma control and severity also were not associated with type, duration, or frequency of exercise, but not being obese was associated in multivariate analyses. Only 22% of all patients (49% of those who exercised) met national guidelines for weekly exercise. Not being obese was the only variable associated with meeting guidelines in multivariate analysis (P = .02).

CONCLUSIONS: Compared with the general population, a lower proportion of asthmatic patients did any routine exercise and met national exercise guidelines. Physicians need to manage asthma and obesity to help asthmatic patients meet exercise goals.

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