February 15, 2019 – Obesity and Asthma


Anchor lead: How are obesity and asthma related? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Asthma, a condition where the airways in the lungs constrict, can be life-threatening, and is known to be worse in obese people than in those who are not. One question that isn’t understood is whether it’s the diet overweight people consume or presence of too much adipose tissue that’s the culprit. Now a Johns Hopkins study led by Seva Polotsky, a pulmonary and critical care expert, seems to point to the extra fat rather than the type of calories consumed.

Polotsky: It’s already well known that obesity is associated with asthma. What is not known is what component of obesity or whether its obesity itself or a particular diet. A premise of our study was to differentiate the effects of obesity from the effects of different types of diet. The bottom line is it doesn’t matter what you eat, it really matters how much.    :22

Polotsky examined the impact of high fat, high sugar and what he calls typical bad Western diet consumption in overweight mice, and found that the type of calories were irrelevant in asthma attacks. The research also showed a drug called anakinra helped. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.