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Int J Epidemiol. 2001 Aug;30(4):766-70.

Body weight, alcohol consumption and liver enzyme activity--a 4-year follow-up study.

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  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Kosin University, 34 Amnam-Dong, Suh-Gu, Pusan, Korea.



This prospective study was performed in order to investigate the effect of baseline body mass index (BMI), BMI changes, baseline alcohol consumption, and changes in alcohol consumption on liver enzyme activity.


This study population consisted of 6846 male workers in a steel manufacturing company who had undergone health examinations in 1994 and 1998.


The risk for elevated both aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) values over the four years increased with the baseline BMI and BMI changes, but not with alcohol consumption. Compared with the subject BMI < 20, the adjusted odds ratios (OR) for those with baseline BMI 20-21.9, 22-24.9, 25- were 1.2, 1.6, 1.7 in AST and 1.4, 2.4, 2.8 in ALT, respectively. Compared with subjects who either lost or maintained their weight, the adjusted OR for men with slight, moderate, and heavy weight gain were 1.7, 2.6, 6.8 in AST and 2.4, 3.9, 11.3 in ALT, respectively. However gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) was associated with BMI changes and baseline alcohol consumption, not with baseline BMI and changes in alcohol consumption. Compared with subjects who lost or maintained weight, the adjusted OR for men with slight, moderate, and heavy weight gain were 2.4, 4.4 and 8.5, respectively. In comparison with non-drinkers, the adjusted OR for light, moderate and heavy drinkers were 1.8, 2.1 and 5.8, respectively.


These data suggest that body weight, rather than alcohol consumption, may be the major factor in determining the serum level of liver enzymes. Even when body weight was not generally considered to be overweight, slight to moderate gains in weight were associated with increases in serum liver enzymes.

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