Association of Lifestyle and Cardiovascular Risk Factors with Lung Function in a Sample of the Adult Italian Population: A Cross-Sectional Survey

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Some epidemiological studies have identified high values of pulmonary functions as an indicator of good health. At present little is known about the distribution of these characteristics in the general adult population.


The aim of this study is to describe pulmonary function in the Italian general population and to evaluate its association with some lifestyle and cardiovascular risk conditions using data of the OEC/HES (Cardiovascular Epidemiology Observatory/Health Examination Survey) Project, a cross-sectional survey based on the examination of random samples of the general population.


A total of 9,108 men and women aged 35–79 years were examined between 2008 and 2012. Pulmonary function [forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC)] was measured with a spirometer and anthropometric measurements and blood pressure were also recorded, whereas lifestyle (physical activity, smoking habits), health status and drug treatment were assessed by a questionnaire. FEV1 and FVC % predicted were also calculated. Univariate analysis and a multiple linear regression were performed in order to assess associations.


FVC and FEV1 percent predicted values were 98.0 (95% CI 97.4–98.6) and 107.3 (95% CI 106.6–107.9) for men and 108.7 (95% CI 107.9–109.4) and 113.3 (95% CI 112.6–114.1) for women. A lower mean FEV1 and FVC % predicted value was found in smokers, individuals physically inactive during their leisure time, diabetics, obese individuals and hypertensive patients. Multivariate linear regression models confirmed the independent association between risk factors and FEV1 and FVC levels.


Our data confirm the inverse relationship existing between pulmonary function and cardiovascular risk factors, obesity, dyslipidemias and hypertension, all of which are conditions related to chronic diseases. An early public healthcare intervention on lifestyle could be useful to reduce the decline in pulmonary function.


© 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel

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