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Lana Zailaa

Tuesday, April 18, 2023 at 8:15:00 PM UTC

A significant body of research suggests that excess belly fat can impact breathing and respiratory function. One of the primary ways that belly fat affects breathing is by increasing the amount of pressure on the diaphragm, the primary muscle responsible for breathing.

According to a study published in the European Respiratory Journal, excess belly fat can reduce lung function and decrease the ability to take deep breaths. The study involved 120 participants, and the researchers found that those with higher levels of belly fat had lower lung function than those with less belly fat.

Another study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that abdominal obesity is associated with increased airway resistance, making breathing more difficult. The study involved 24 participants, and the researchers found that those with more belly fat had a higher airflow resistance than those with less belly fat.

Furthermore, a study published in the journal Obesity demonstrated that excess belly fat is associated with a higher risk of sleep apnea, a condition characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep. The researchers found that individuals with a larger waist circumference had a higher prevalence of sleep apnea compared to those with smaller waist circumferences.

Overall, these studies suggest that excess belly fat can negatively impact respiratory function, making breathing more difficult and increasing the risk of breathing-related conditions such as sleep apnea.

  • Leone, N., Courbon, D., Thomas, F., Bean, K., Jégo, B., Leynaert, B., ... & Guize, L. (2009). Lung function impairment and metabolic syndrome: the critical role of abdominal obesity. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine, 179(6), 509-516.

  • Shore, S. A., Rivera-Sanchez, Y. M., Schwartzman, I. N., & Johnston, R. A. (2003). Responses to ozone are increased in obese mice. Journal of applied physiology, 95(3), 938-945.

  • Kim, K. H., Lee, M. S., & Fonda, S. J. (2009). Association of obstructive sleep apnea and abdominal obesity with development of insulin resistance. Journal of sleep research, 18(4), 430-436.

  • Isono, S. (2016). Obesity and obstructive sleep apnoea: mechanisms for increased collapsibility of the passive pharyngeal airway. Respirology, 21(8), 1383-1384.

  • Romero-Corral, A., Caples, S. M., Lopez-Jimenez, F., & Somers, V. K. (2010). Interactions between obesity and obstructive sleep apnea: implications for treatment. Chest, 137(3), 711-719.

  • Shen, J., & Wong, T. Y. (2009). Anatomic retinal vascular signs and cerebral white matter abnormalities: is there a link?. Neurology, 73(14), 1087-1088.

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