Objective: To study the relationship between obesity and pulmonary ventilatory functions in Kuwaiti adults. Subjects and Methods: A total of 200 male and 180 female Kuwaiti adults aged 20–65 years were investigated in six medical centers from April 2004 to March 2006. Parameters measured included forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), FEV1 as a percentage of FVC (FEV%); body mass index (BMI in kg/m2) and waist-to-hip ratio (W/H). Results: For the whole group, males or females, BMI (kg·m2) and W/H were poor individual predictors of pulmonary ventilatory functions. However, central adiposity (W/H) was associated with restrictive respiratory impairment (10.6–13.9% decrease in FEV1 and 10–12.3% decrease in FVC), independent of sex, age or height. In obese females and males (BMI >30), increasing severity of obesity was significantly associated (p < 0.05, R2 >0.06) associated with increasing restrictive respiratory impairment (8.7–14.4% decrease in FEV1 and 8–11.7% decrease in FVC), with no evidence of obstructive disease (FEV1/FVC >0.8). Conclusion: In adult Kuwaiti males and females, increase in body fat at BMI >30 or W/H >1 was associated with a restrictive effect on pulmonary ventilation.

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