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Gastroenterology. 2003 Oct;125(4):1053-9.

Is obesity a risk factor for cirrhosis-related death or hospitalization? A population-based cohort study.

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  • 1Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Health Services Research and Development, MS 152, Building 1, Room 422, 1660 South Columbian Way, Seattle, Washington 98108, USA.



Our aim was to determine whether increased body mass index (BMI) in the general population is associated with cirrhosis-related death or hospitalization.


Participants included 11,465 persons aged 25-74 years without evidence of cirrhosis at entry into the study, or during the first 5 years of follow-up, who subsequently were followed-up for a mean of 12.9 years. The BMI was used to categorize participants into normal-weight (BMI < 25 kg/m(2), N = 5752), overweight (BMI 25 to < 30 kg/m(2), N = 3774), and obese categories (BMI >/= 30 kg/m(2), N = 1939).


Cirrhosis resulted in death or hospitalization of 89 participants during 150,233 person-years of follow-up (0.59/1000 person-years). Cirrhosis-related deaths or hospitalizations were more common in obese persons (0.81/1000 person-years, adjusted hazard ratio 1.69, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.0-3.0) and in overweight persons (0.71/1000 person-years, adjusted hazard ratio 1.16, 95% CI 0.7-1.9) compared with normal-weight persons (0.45/1000 person-years). Among persons who did not consume alcohol, there was a strong association between obesity (adjusted hazard ratio 4.1, 95% CI 1.4-11.4) or being overweight (adjusted hazard ratio 1.93, 95% CI 0.7-5.3) and cirrhosis-related death or hospitalization. In contrast, this association was weaker among persons who consumed up to 0.3 alcoholic drinks/day (adjusted hazard ratio 2.48, 95% CI 0.7-8.4 for obesity; adjusted hazard ratio 1.31, 95% CI 0.4-4.2 for overweight) and no association was identified among those who consumed more than 0.3 alcoholic drinks/day.


Obesity appears to be a risk factor for cirrhosis-related death or hospitalization among persons who consume little or no alcohol.

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