Introduction. Obesity is increasing at an alarming rate and according to World Health Organisation, the number of severely overweight adults is expected to double that of the underweight by 2025. Obesity is no longer concern for the developed countries only, but it is becoming a global phenomenon with prevalence on the rise in many developing countries like Nigeria. Obesity has been found to be associated with impaired respiratory function.
The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between body mass index (BMI), percentage body fat (%BF), fat weight (FW) and predicted respiratory function indices.
Material and Method. Two hundred (100 males and 100 females) randomly selected non smoking secondary school teachers in Ibadan North local government area, Ibadan, with age range between 38 and 62 years voluntarily participated in this study. Expost facto research design was used for this study. BMI, % BF and FW were used as measures of body fat, while predicted forced expiratory volume in 1st second (FEV1), predicted peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR), predicted forced vital capacity (FVC), breath hold time, respiratory rate and chest expansions were used as measures of respiratory function. The procedure of measurement was explained to each participant before they were allowed to participate in this study. Descriptive statistics of range, mean and standard deviation were used to analyse all the variables measured in this study. Pearson product moment correlation coefficient was used to determine the relationship between body fat indices and predicted respiratory function indices. Alpha level was set at 0.05.
Results. There was a significant inverse relationship between BMI, %BF, FW and all the respiratory function indices (p ≤ 0.05) except respiratory rate, which showed a significant direct relationship (p ≤ 0.05). The mean of measured respiratory function indices (FEV1, PEFR and FVC) were significantly lower than the predicted values.
Conclusion. The mass loading effect of excess body fat on the mechanics of the thorax reduces respiratory efficiency.
Body mass index, Percent body fat, fat weight, predicted respiratory function indices
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