Is Obesity a Risk Factor for COPD in Females Ages 55 and Older?




Mehta, Tarjani
Martinez, Wendy
Schmidt, Katherine
Feeney, Patrick
Hartos, Jessica PhD


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Purpose: Research has shown a relationship between COPD and weight status; however, the information was not specific to a gender or age groups. Thus, the purpose of our study is to determine whether obesity is a risk factor for COPD in females who are 55 years and older. Methods: This cross sectional analysis used data from the BRFSS 2014 survey for females aged 55 and older from Alabama, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Ohio. Multiple logistic regression analyses was used to assess the relationship between obesity and COPD, while controlling for age, race/ethnicity, asthma, diabetes, exercise, heart disease, and tobacco use. Results: Few of the target population reported having lifetime diagnosis of COPD (15-18%) and the majority reported being obese (67-70%). After controlling for demographic factors, COPD was significantly related to obesity in Oklahoma (small effect size), and significantly related to exercise (small effect sizes), heart disease (moderate effect sizes), tobacco use (moderate effect sizes) and asthma (large effect sizes) in all four states. Conclusions: The majority of the states found that obesity was not related to COPD in females aged 55 and older. However, asthma, exercise, heart disease, and current smoking were significant in all states. A limitation to this study was that it lacked information on COPD severity and history. Primary care providers should screen and educate patients with COPD symptoms for tobacco use, heart disease, and lack of exercise. Providers should also screen, educate, and refer for obesity as necessary.