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Allergy Asthma Clin Immunol. 2016 Oct 19;12:50. eCollection 2016.

Interacting effects of obesity, race, ethnicity and sex on the incidence and control of adult-onset asthma.

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Department of Research and Evaluation, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, 100 S. Los Robles, 2nd Floor, Pasadena, CA 91101 USA.
Institute for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Colorado, 10065 E. Harvard Street Suite 300, Denver, CO 80231 USA.
Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, 2000 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612 USA.
Mid-Atlantic Permanente Research Institute, Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic States, 2101 East Jefferson Street 3 West, Rockville, MD 20852 USA.
Center for Health Research-Hawaii, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, 501 Alakawa Street Suite 201, Honolulu, HI 96817 USA.



To improve care and control for patients with adult-onset asthma, a better understanding of determinants of their risk and outcomes is important. We investigated how associations between asthma, asthma control and obesity may be modified by patient demographic characteristics.


This retrospective study of adults enrolled in several health plans across the U.S. (n = 2,860,305) examined the interacting effects of obesity, age, race, and sex on adult-onset asthma and asthma control. Multivariable adjusted Cox and logistic regression models estimated hazard ratios (HR), and 95 % confidence intervals (CI) for the associations between body mass index (BMI) and study outcomes, and interactions of BMI with demographic characteristics.


Compared with individuals who had a BMI <25 kg/m2, the hazard of adult-onset asthma progressively increased with increasing BMI, from a 12 % increase among persons with a BMI of 25.0-29.9 kg/m2 (HR 1.12, 95 % CI 1.10, 1.14) to an almost 250 % increase among persons with a BMI ≥50 kg/m2 (HR 2.49, 95 % CI 2.38, 2.60). The magnitude of the association between obesity and asthma risk was greater for women (compared with men) and lower for Blacks (compared with non-Hispanic Whites). Among individuals with asthma, obesity was associated with poorly controlled and high-risk asthma.


The present study demonstrates that the magnitude of the associations between obesity and adult-onset asthma incidence and control are modified by race, age, and sex. Understanding the role of obesity in the development of adult-onset asthma will help to improve asthma treatment algorithms and to develop targeted interventions.


Adult-onset; Asthma; Ethnicity; Obesity; Race; Sex

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