Background: Obesity is a risk factor for severe and difficult-to-treat asthma. However, the impact of different physiques on long-term outcomes is poorly understood.

Aims and objectives: We aimed to investigate the correlation between obesity and asthma-associated long-term mortality in Japanese adults.

Methods: From the data on 3146 individuals in the Omuta City Air Pollution-Related Health Damage Cohort Program, 697 adult patients with asthma were analyzed. Hazard ratios for long-term all-cause and respiratory disease -related mortality were compared in patients with different physiques using the Cox proportional hazard models. The classification of physiques was based on the WHO obesity criteria.

Results: Of the 697 patients, 439 died during the median observation period of 26.3 years. The number (% of total) of underweight, normal-weight, pre-obese, and obese class I-III individuals were 75 (10.8%), 459 (65.9%), 140 (20.1%), and 23 (3.3%), respectively. The Cox proportional hazard model (adjusted hazard ratio [95% confidence interval], P value) showed that pre-obese group had a significantly reduced risk for all-cause (0.65 [0.51 to 0.83], P < 0.05) and respiratory disease (0.55 [0.37 to 0.81], P < 0.05)-related mortality related to normal-weight group.

Conclusions: Our cohort program demonstrated that being slightly overweight may reduce the risk of long-term mortality in patients with asthma. However, the influence of obesity on long-term outcomes remains unclear in asthma, because of the small number of obese patients included in our study. Our findings suggest that interventions, including nutrition and exercises, should be provided to Japanese patients with asthma.