Overweight and obese breathe more air pollutants

People who are overweight or obese breathe up to 50 percent more air per day than others, which makes them more susceptible to disease-causing pesticides, particles and contaminants, a new study suggests.

Researchers from Montréal's school of Public Health found that overweight individuals have a higher risk for conditions like asthma or other pulmonary diseases. Obese children are at risk, too, as their daily inhalation rates are 10-24 percent higher than those of normal-weight children.

Lead study investigator Dr. Pierre Brochu explained that obese people have an average air inhalation of 24.6 m3 per day.

"That's 8.2 m3 more than the 16.4 m3 an average adult with normal weight breathes daily, or 50 percent more air and pollutants," he said.

Oxygen needed comparable to athletes

Brochu previously conducted air inhalation studies on top athletes, revealing that these individuals also operate at peak inhalation. However, they do not maintain this on a daily basis the way obese individuals do, he explained.

"We observed that half of the type 2 obese cohort breathed 24.6-55 m3 of air every day, year after year, so it is clear that the amount of air they inhale every day exposes them to more contaminants than some top athletes," Brochu said.

Highest risk for children?

The results of the study may be most worrisome concerning overweight children – since they have much higher metabolisms, they breathe more air per kilogram of weight than adults. Whether or not this affects the development of certain diseases in younger people is still a mystery, Brochu said.

"It remains to be seen if high inhalation rates are a factor in the development of asthma and other lung diseases in adults and children," he concluded.

Source: Science Daily

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