A new study shows that poor lung function during adolescence and through midlife may be influenced by several factors, including birth weight, height, and gender.
Researchers from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom analyzed health data from 252 patients, all aged 14 years. Follow-up data also were obtained for 122 of the patients at age 49 to 51.
Results showed that several factors were related to poorer lung function (as measured by FEV1) at age 14, including lower height, lower BMI, being breast-fed for less than 4 weeks, and childhood respiratory disease.
Furthermore, several factors predicted a decline in lung function between the ages of 49 to 51 years, including more cigarettes smoked in the lifetime, having a higher FEV1 at age 14, and being female.
Researchers note that women reach their maximum FEV1 at a younger age than men, which may explain why, after age 14, the lung function of women declines at a higher rate than the lung function of men.
This article is published in the January issue of Chest, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.
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