Spirometric measures of lower airway obstruction decrease with smaller weight increments in minority children when compared with Caucasian children, according to results from a study by Montefiore Medical Center.

The study found that FEV1/FVC ratios were lower in both overweight and obese African American and Hispanic children, while this association was present only among obese Whites compared with their normal weight counterparts.

Researchers followed 980 children, ages 7-20 years, who were patients at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. The retrospective study was conducted based on medical records collected from January 2003 to December 2007.

“While it has been well documented that Hispanics and African-Americans – particularly those who live in urban settings – have a higher prevalence of asthma and obesity, there is less understanding of the lung function in overweight asthmatic minority children,” said Deepa Rastogi, MD, MS, senior author and attending physician, Division of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, and assistant professor of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. “What we have learned from this study is that even small increases in weight can negatively impact lung function.”

The researchers believe the information is helpful to clinicians, as providers may want to measure the degree of airway obstruction in Hispanic and African-American children who are both overweight or obese and asthmatic.