The large differences in lung function could not be accounted for by variations across regions in height, weight, age, gender, education levels and rural or urban location.
Dr. MyLinh Duong, lead author of the paper and an assistant professor of medicine of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University, said that the findings have important public health implications, as there is a well known link between low lung function and increased mortality.
Researchers at McMaster University said that these differences may be genetically determined, but more likely most relate to the socio-economic, nutritional and environmental exposures of people in the different regions. These are all conditions that could be modified or improved.
Respirologist Dr. Paul O'Byrne, who is the co-author of the paper, said that these findings are of great importance, as we need separate standards for what is considered normal in different parts of the world and may lead us to rethink how to define those with abnormal lung function.
The study included 154,000 adult non-smokers between 35 and 70 years old from 17 countries from four continents.
Some of the factors such as nutrition and pollution levels will be explored in future analysis of the study.
The study is published in the journal, The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.
--ANI (Posted on 10-09-2013)