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Paediatr Respir Rev. 2017 Jun 11. pii: S1526-0542(17)30064-7. doi: 10.1016/j.prrv.2017.06.008. [Epub ahead of print]

The weighty issue of obesity in paediatric respiratory medicine.

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Department of Respiratory Medicine, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, Australia; Discipline Child & Adolescent Health, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia. Electronic address:


Some have observed that developed world is fat and getting fatter. This is even extending into the developing world, and it is important to appreciate that the consequences of childhood obesity last into adulthood and are associated with premature death. From the paediatric respiratory perspective, the deposition of excess adipose tissue in the thoraco-abdominal region begins early in life and is believed to alter diaphragm mobility and chest wall expansion, reduce lung compliance, and result in a rapid shallow breathing pattern with an increased work of breathing and reduction in maximum ventilatory capacity. This results in respiratory symptoms of exertional dyspnoea related to deconditioning which may present as exercise limitation, leading to confusion with common lung diseases such as asthma. The manifestations of the increasingly prevalent problems of overweight and obesity in young people and their interaction with common conditions of asthma and obstructive sleep apnoea will be discussed.


Childhood; Deconditioning; Interventions; Metabolic syndrome; Obesity; Obstructive sleep apnoea; Restrictive lung disease

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