Arch Dis Child 97:1039-1042 doi:10.1136/archdischild-2011-301304
  • Original articles

Gain in lung function after weight reduction in severely obese children

  1. W M C van Aalderen1
  1. 1Department of Pediatric Respiratory Medicine and Allergy, Emma Children's Hospital, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Pediatrics, Asthma Centre Heideheuvel, Hilversum, The Netherlands
  3. 3Department of Epidemiology, Medisch Spectrum Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands
  4. 4Department of Research Methodology, Measurement and Data Analysis, University Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands
  5. 5Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Emma Children's Hospital, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr Erik-Jonas van de Griendt, Department of Pediatric Respiratory Medicine and Allergy, Emma Children's Hospital, Academic Medical Centre, PO Box 22660, Amsterdam 1100 DD, The Netherlands; e.j.vandegriendt{at}
  1. Contributors EJvdG: analysed all data and wrote the draft and final version of the manuscript: OHvdB-S co-designed the study, enrolled participants, contributed to data collection, interpreted the data analyses and reviewed the manuscript: EEMvE-Z enrolled participants and reviewed the manuscript: JvdP performed all statistical analyses, wrote the statistical paragraph of the manuscript, produced the figures and reviewed the manuscript: CLJT-S enrolled participants, performed spirometry and collected data: MAB designed the study and reviewed the manuscript: WMCvA designed the study, analysed the pulmonary function data, supervised the writing process and reviewed the manuscript.

  • Accepted 4 September 2012
  • Published Online First 16 October 2012


Aim The primary objective of this prospective cohort study was to determine the effect of weight loss on pulmonary function values in extremely obese children.

Methods Obese children participated in a 26-week in-hospital or outpatient multidisciplinary treatment programme. Waist circumference was measured and pulmonary function tests were performed at enrolment and after 6 months.

Results The data of 112 children were analysed. The children had a mean age of 14.4 (range 8.5–18.9) years and 62.5% were girls. The mean SD score-body mass index (SDS-BMI) was +3.38 at baseline and +2.91 after the intervention. Lung function improved significantly: functional vital capacity increased by 3.08% (95% CI 1.16% to 5.00%) of the predicted value, forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) by 2.91% (95% CI 1.11% to 4.71%) of the predicted value, total lung capacity by 2.27% (95% CI 1.16% to 5.00%) of the predicted value, and expiratory reserve volume (ERV) by 14.8% (95% CI 8.66% to 20.88%) of the predicted value. The increase in ERV correlated with the reduction in SDS-BMI and with the reduction in waist circumference. FEV1 did not correlate with the reduction in either SDS-BMI or waist circumference.

Conclusions Weight loss in severely obese children correlated with an improvement in lung function, especially ERV. The improvement in ERV correlated with the decrease in SDS-BMI and waist circumference.


  • EJvdG and OHvdB-S contributed equally.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Provided by the Academic Medical Centre of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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