Most respiratory diseases result from complex interactions between genes and the environment. Since altering the former is currently impracticable, increasing attention has been given to the management of important environmental factors, such as physical inactivity, air pollution, smoking and diet. There is now a large body of evidence supporting the role of diet in the pathogenesis of respiratory disease, as well as the health value of certain nutritional interventions; for example, in the context of pulmonary rehabilitation.
This chapter summarises the evidence for poor nutrition as a risk factor for, and modulator of, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), allergy and asthma, lung cancer, venous thromboembolism and respiratory infections. It reviews the field of nutritional assessment and the effect of nutritional interventions in respiratory diseases. It concludes with recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and academic societies for primary and secondary prevention of respiratory disease.