Why is healthy eating important for people who have lung conditions?

Lung conditions increase the risk of poor nutrition, weight loss and reduced muscle strength because of:

  • Increased energy needs. Studies have shown that people who have chronic lung conditions expend 25% to 50% more energy than healthy people due to the increased work of breathing and fighting chest infections.
  • Poor appetite, or for some people on steroids, a bigger appetite.
  • Increased need for certain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  • A lack of energy to shop, cook and eat meals.
  • Poor malnutrition adversely affects lung structure, respiratory muscle strength and endurance.
  • If you are overweight, you are likely to become more short of breath during activities such as walking up stairs or carrying the groceries. Carrying additional body weight increases the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.