Asthma More Common in Less-Fit Army Recruits

by U.S. Medicine

March 10, 2017

SILVER SPRING, MD — Army recruits with low fitness levels, extra body fat or both are at higher risk of asthma diagnosis in the first two years of military service, according to a recent study.

An article in the journal Occupational Medicine noted that epidemiological data suggests an association between overweight/obesity and asthma. A team from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research pointed out, however, that less is known about the relationship between physical fitness and asthma.1

To remedy that, the researchers sought to enumerate new-onset asthma diagnoses in Army recruits during the first two years of service and determine associations with fitness and excess body fat (EBF) when they enlisted. Military health and personnel records were used to obtain information on new asthma diagnoses over two years in Army recruits at six entrance stations.

Results indicate that, in 9,979 weight-qualified and 1,117 EBF entrants with no prior history of asthma, 256 new cases of asthma were diagnosed within two years of military entry. Low level of fitness, defined by a step test and EBF, were significantly associated with new asthma diagnosis-adjusted incidence rate ratio (IRR) of 1.47 and adjusted IRR, respectively.

  1. Urban N, Boivin MR, Cowan DN. Fitness, obesity and risk of asthma among Army trainees. Occup Med (Lond). 2016 Oct;66(7):551-7. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqw081. PubMed PMID: 27387918.


Related Articles

RA Fracture Risk Affected by Glucocorticoid Treatment

How much does systemic glucocorticoid exposure increase fracture among patients with newly-diagnosed inflammatory and immune-modulated conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis.

Obesity, Weight-Loss Both Worsen RA U.S. Medicine

Obese patients with rheumatoid arthritis report greater disability in cross-sectional studies, but what that means over the long term has not been studied often.

U.S. Medicine Recommends

More From department of veterans affairs

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VHA Makes Progress in Improving Safety of Opioid Prescribing

VHA medical facilities should ensure that its providers are following three key opioid risk mitigation strategies, including conducting urine drug screening, a recent report recommended.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA faces healthcare staffing shortages, barriers to hiring facility leaders

A facility-specific survey found that 138 of 140 VA facilities reported shortages of medical officers, with psychiatry and primary care positions being the most frequently listed.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Veteran nephrologist labors to improve ESRD treatment at VA

When Terrence O’Neil, MD, retired as chief of nephrology at the James H. Quillen VAMC in Johnson City in December 2016, he left in his wake decades of work treating kidney disease—nearly 35 years in the Air Force and DoD, plus 11 more at VA.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Committee approves bill to provide agent orange benefits to ‘blue water’ vets

A long sought-after bill that would make it easier for Blue Water Navy veterans to receive Agent Orange benefits has been passed by a key House of Representatives committee.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Bill to Streamline, Expand VA’s Choice Program Signed Into Law

Legislation that would streamline VA’s community care programs into one program and expand VA’s caregiver program to veterans of all eras was signed into law earlier this month..

Facebook Comment

Subscribe to U.S. Medicine Print Magazine

U.S. Medicine is mailed free each month to physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and administrators working for Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and U.S. Public Health Service.

Subscribe Now

Receive Our Email Newsletter

Stay informed about federal medical news, clinical updates and reports on government topics for the federal healthcare professional.

Sign Up