Association of adiposity with pulmonary function in older Chinese: Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Jing Pan
  • Lin Xu
  • Tai Hing Lam
  • Chao Qiang Jiang
  • Wei Sen Zhang
  • Ya Li Jin
  • Feng Zhu
  • Tong Zhu

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Guangzhou No. 12 Hospital
  • The First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University
  • University of Hong Kong


Objective We examined the association between different adiposity indices and pulmonary function in Chinese adults in the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study (GBCS). Methods Participants with body mass index (BMI) < 18.5 (underweight) were excluded. Adiposity indices including BMI, waist circumference (WC), waist hip ratio, waist height ratio and body fat percentage were measured. Lung function was assessed by spirometry using a turbine flowmeter. We analyzed percent predicted for forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1%), forced vital capacity (FVC %) and restrictive respiratory defect (FEV1/FVC ratio > low limits of normal and FVC % <0.80). Results Of 16186 participants (mean age 61.4 ± 7.2 years; 74.0% women), 116 (0.7%) had only general obesity (BMI ≥28 kg/m2), 4079 (25.2%) had only central obesity (WC: ≥90 cm in men, ≥80 cm in women) and 1591 (9.8%) had both central obesity and general obesity. Comparing to those with neither central nor general obesity, those with only central adiposity and with both central and general obesity had lower pulmonary function (adjusted β range from -2.85 to -6.02 for FEV1% and FVC%, adjusted OR range from 1.14 to 1.70, all P < 0.05). But those with only general obesity had better but non-significant pulmonary function. (Crude β range from 1.46 to 2.92 for FEV1% and FVC%, crude OR range from 0.68 to 0.93, all P > 0.05). Both FEV1% and FVC% decreased per standard deviation increase in obesity indices (adjusted β from -0.46 to -3.17, all P < 0.002). A positive association of central or general obesity with restrictive respiratory defect was observed (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) from 1.50 to 2.04, all P < 0.002). Further adjustment for WC reversed the inverse association between BMI and pulmonary function (adjusted β from 1.93 to 6.22, all P < 0.001) and restrictive respiratory defect (adjusted AOR from 0.72 to 0.80, all P < 0.001). Conclusion Central adiposity and its indices, but not general adiposity and BMI, were independently associated with lower pulmonary function and higher risk of restrictive respiratory defect in older Chinese.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-108
Number of pages7
JournalRespiratory Medicine
Early online date7 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • BMI, Central adiposity, General adiposity, Pulmonary function, Restrictive respiratory defect, WC

ASJC Scopus subject areas