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Editorial
November 22, 1999

The Association of Asthma and ObesityIs It Real or a Matter of Definition, Presbyterian Ministers' Salaries, and Earlobe Creases?

Arch Intern Med. 1999;159(21):2513-2514. doi:10.1001/archinte.159.21.2513

BOTH ASTHMA and obesity are common chronic diseases. The prevalence of asthma in this country has increased over the last 3 decades and now affects an estimated 6% to 8% of the population. This increase has been accompanied by increased costs and morbidity for the asthmatic patient. Obesity in adults has experienced similar trends, and it is now recognized as one of the most pervasive public health problems in this country.1 While most recent epidemiological data show that the prevalence of being overweight has remained stable at approximately 32% of American adults over the last 40 years, the prevalence of obesity has risen from 13% to 22%.1 The National Institutes of Health have classified a body mass index (BMI) (calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters) of 25 kg/m2 or greater but less than 30 kg/m2 as overweight, and a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or greater as being obese.2 In gaining weight, individuals increase their risk for multiple comorbid conditions, such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes mellitus, osteoarthritis, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), gallbladder disease, gout, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).3

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