The Role of Exercise in a Weight-Loss Program on Clinical Control in Obese Adults with Asthma.

Clinical control is difficult to achieve in obese patients with asthma. Bariatric surgery has been recommended for weight loss and to improve asthma control; however, the benefits of nonsurgical interventions have been poorly investigated. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of exercise training in a weight-loss program on asthma control, quality of life, inflammatory biomarkers, and lung function.

Fifty-five obese patients with asthma were randomly assigned to either a weight-loss program plus exercise (WL + E group, n = 28) or a weight-loss program plus sham (WL + S group, n = 27), where the weight-loss program included nutrition (caloric restriction) and psychological therapies. The WL + E group incorporated aerobic and resistance muscle training, whereas the WL + S group incorporated breathing and stretching exercises.

The primary outcome was clinical improvement in asthma control over 3 months. Secondary outcomes included quality of life, lung function, body composition, aerobic capacity, muscle strength, and inflammatory/antiinflammatory biomarkers. After 3 months, 51 patients were analyzed. Compared with the WL + S group, the WL + E group demonstrated improved clinical control scores (median [25th to 75th percentile], -0.7 [-1.3 to -0.3] vs. -0.3 [-0.9 to 0.4]; P = 0.01) and greater weight loss (mean ± SD, -6.8% ± 3.5 vs. -3.1% ± 2.6; P < 0.001) and aerobic capacity (median [25th to 75th percentile], 3.0 [2.4 to 4.0] vs. 0.9 [-0.3 to 1.3] ml O2 × kg-1 × min-1; P < 0.001). These improvements in the WL + E group were also accompanied by improvements in lung function, antiinflammatory biomarkers, and vitamin D levels, as well as reductions in airway and systemic inflammation.

Adding exercise to a short-term weight-loss program should be considered as a useful strategy for achieving clinical control of asthma in obese patients.