Donnish Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences

May 2015 Vol. 2(4), pp. 067-071

Copyright © 2015 Donnish Journals

Original Research Paper

Correlation of BMI, and Pulmonary Function in Nigerian Firefighters

Alkali MB1*, Bilkisu Mubi2, Denue A. Ballah3 and Bandele EO4

1Consultant Chest Physician, Department of Medicine, College of Medical Sciences, University of Maiduguri, P M B 1414, Maiduguri, Nigeria.
2,3Consultant Endocrinologist, Consultant Physician, Department of Medicine, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, P M B 1414, Maiduguri, Nigeria.
4Professor of Medicine and Consultant Chest physician, Faculty of Medicine, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi Araba, Lagos, Nigeria.

Corresponding Author E-mail:,

Accepted 5th May, 2015.


Purpose: Obesity as measured by body mass index BMI, is a major health problem, worldwide and of importance is its effect on the respiratory system. It is well known that increases in BMI causes decreases in lung volumes, this study seeks to show the correlation between body mass index (BMI) and lung function indices such as FEV1, FVC, FEV1/FVC, and PEFR, in firefighters who are equally exposed to smoke inhalation and smoking cigarette. Methods: The study is a cross sectional comparison of Nigerian firefighters with at least two years of fire fighting experience. One hundred (100) smoking (cases) firefighters were matched to 101 non-smokers (controls). Information pertaining history and duration of smoking was obtained from each smoker. Information pertaining to a wide range of Body Mass Index (BMI) (kg/m2) was calculated as weight in kilograms (kg) divided by the square of the height in meters (m) i.e. kg/m2, clinical data of Peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR), forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC) and the ratio of the FEV1 to the FVC as a percentage (FEV1/ FVC%) were measured and analyzed for both groups. Wright’s peak flow meter, Mechanical Spirometer, non-stretchable metric tape rule. Normographs for predicted FEV1, FVC were used as investigative tools. Setting: Federal Fire Service stations in Lagos, Nigeria between July and August 2002. Results: There were significant linear relationships between BMI and lung function. Results of this study observed, that 43% of the smokers and 38.5% of the non-smokers falls within the normal weight category. Greater part of the remaining, falls within the overweight category (37 of smokers’ vs 33 non-smokers. There were more obese fighters in the smoking group when compared with the controls (16vs 8). Only 4 of the smokers were found to be underweight and non amongst the non-smokers (P.Value <= 0.01). With increase in value for BMI, the mean FEV1/FVC were lower than the predicted for each age group. PEFR values significantly declined with increasing age. Those in the age group 20 to 29 years had the highest values of PEFR while those in the age range >50years the lowest values in both groups. Conclusion: The study showed that BMI has significant role in affecting the respiratory system as evidenced by the deceased values of lung function parameters, it can therefore, be deduced, even though smoking and smoke inhalation are known contributing factors to decrement in lung function, increase in body mass index is another single factor that has a negative effect on lung function.

Keywords: BMI, Lung Function, Smoking, Firefighters.

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Cite This Article:

Alkali MB*, Bilkisu Mubi, Denue A. Ballah and Bandele EO. Correlation of BMI, and Pulmonary Function in Nigerian Firefighters. Donnish Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences 2(4) 2015 pp. 067-071.

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