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Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005 Jan;3(1):67-74.

Is central obesity associated with cirrhosis-related death or hospitalization? A population-based, cohort study.

Author information

  • 1Health Services Research and Development and Northwest Hepatitis C Resource Centers, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound System, Seattle, Washington, USA. georgei@medicine.washington.edu



We aimed to determine the interaction between body fat distribution (central versus peripheral) and increased body mass index (BMI) with regards to the risk of cirrhosis-related death or hospitalization.


Participants included 11,434 persons aged 25-74 years without evidence of cirrhosis at entry into the study or during the first 5 years of follow-up who were subsequently followed for a mean of 12.9 years as part of the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Participants were categorized into "normal-weight" (BMI < 25 kg/m 2 , N = 5750), "overweight" (BMI 25 to < 30 kg/m 2 , N = 3770), and "obese" (BMI > or = 30 kg/m 2 , N = 1914). The subscapular to triceps skinfold thickness ratio (SFR) was used to categorize body fat distribution into central (SFR > 1, N = 5211) and peripheral (SFR < or = 1, N = 6223).


Cirrhosis resulted in death or hospitalization of 88 participants during 149,888 person-years of follow-up (59/100,000 person-years). Among persons with a central body fat distribution, cirrhosis-related deaths or hospitalizations were more common in obese persons (115/100,000 person-years, adjusted hazard ratio 2.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.1-4.6) and in overweight persons (94/100,000 person-years, adjusted hazard ratio 1.5, 95% CI 0.8-3.0) compared to normal-weight persons (59/100,000 person-years). However, among persons with a peripheral fat distribution, there was no association between obesity (adjusted hazard ratio 0.7, 95% CI 0.3-1.6) or overweight (adjusted hazard ratio 0.8, 95% CI 0.2-2.8) and cirrhosis-related death or hospitalization.


The risk of cirrhosis-related death or hospitalization appears to be increased in the presence of cirrhosis, but only among persons with a central fat distribution. The excess risk associated with central obesity might be related to insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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