Relationship between peak expiratory flow and impaired functional capacity in obese individuals

Graziele Mayra Santos Moreira, Angela Maria Ribeiro, Patricia Maria de Melo Carvalho, Pedro Augusto de Carvalho Mira, Isabelle Magalhães Guedes Freitas


Introduction: Obesity, characterized by the accumulation of excess body fat, can alter respiratory mechanics and compromise functional capacity. Given its increasing prevalence and the significant morbidity associated with the condition, it is important to investigate techniques that enable rapid, easy measurement of lung function and the possible correlation between obesity and functional capacity. Objective: To assess lung function and functional capacity in obese adults and determine whether there is a correlation between reduced peak expiratory flow and impaired functional capacity. Methods: 30 participants, distributed into two groups: obese (36 ± 13 years) and normal weight (31 ± 9 years) were evaluated based on anthropometric measurements, the six-minute walk test (6MWT) and peak expiratory flow (PEF). Results: The obese individuals showed reduced PEF (382 ± 99 vs. 497 ± 104 L/min, p < 0.01), walked shorter distances in the 6MWT (453 ± 37 vs. 617 ± 50 m,p < 0.01), had higher blood pressure and perceived exertion (p < 0.05) when compared to normal weight participants. Additionally, there was a positive significant association between expiratory flow and distance walked in the 6MWT (r = 0.635 and p < 0.001). Conclusion: Obese individuals exhibited lower PEF and walked shorter distances in the 6MWT, indicating a positive correlation between these two variables. In light of this outcome, the assessment methods used could contribute to improving analysis of respiratory and functional status in this population and aid in exercise prescription.


Obesity. Peak expiratory flow. Walk test. Rapid assessment.



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