Lung handles

 
By • Published: May 18th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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Nothing sounds cuter than “love handles” when it comes to describing a huggable midriff.

But could it be love handles are putting the squeeze on our lung capacity?

New research from France indicates a high waist circumference… the so-called spare tire, to coin a phrase… is strongly associated with decreased lung function.

It’s already known that people who carry excess weight around the middle are more prone to diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and a host of other health problems.

Apparently we can add shortness of breath to the list. And this problem seems to occur regardless of someone’s smoking history, gender or body mass index.

Researchers analyzed health information from more than a hundred-twenty-thousand people. Primarily they looked at the actual volume of exhalations and inhalations in relation to a person’s body mass index, waist circumference and overall metabolic health.

In the end, they found impaired lung function and abdominal obesity seem to go together. Almost like chocolate and peanut butter.

For the study purposes, abdominal obesity was defined as having a waist circumference of greater than thirty-five inches for women and forty inches for men. Lung function declined even in people who were only slightly over the waistline limits.

A practical explanation for this deflating finding may simply be that excess fat gives the chest wall less room to expand and also interferes with the muscles that assist in breathing.

For once, a spare tire isn’t a very handy thing to carry around. Especially if it’s overinflated.