RATIONALE: The developed world is currently facing an epidemic of obesity. With the increased prevalence of obesity has come the recognition that obesity is a risk factor for asthma. OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this workshop was to bring together experts in the field of asthma, with experts in the field of obesity to review the current state-of-the-art knowledge regarding obesity and asthma, with the goal of furthering our understanding of the link between these two disease entities to help define important future directions for research. METHODS: Speakers were invited to give presentations highlighting recent developments in their area of expertise that were related to obesity and lung disease. These presentations were followed by interactive discussion. A writing committee from among the participants produced a document summarizing the proceedings. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: The participants found that obesity was a risk factor for asthma in all demographic groups studied. Asthma in the obese may represent a unique phenotype of asthma, with more severe disease that does not respond as well to conventional therapy. Factors that could contribute to the pathogenesis of asthma in the obese include both mechanical factors and altered inflammation and immune responses related to the obese state. CONCLUSIONS: There is an urgent need for research to better understand the mechanisms of asthma in the obese, and to develop new therapies specifically targeted to this unique patient population.
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