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Dis Colon Rectum. 2008 Apr;51(4):450-5. Epub 2007 Dec 22.

Body mass index and diverticular disease: a 28-year follow-up study in men.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Sahlgrenska University Hospital/Ostra, SE-416 85, Göteborg, Sweden.



Diverticular disease increased steadily concomitant with elevated rates of overweight and obesity during the 20th century. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate whether overweight and obesity in midlife predict future diverticular disease in men.


This was a prospective cohort study of a general population of men living in Göteborg, Sweden. A community-based sample of 7,494 men, investigated when aged 47 to 55 years, were followed from baseline in 1970 to 1973 for a maximum of 28 years. Hospitalization with a discharge diagnosis of diverticular disease according to the Swedish hospital discharge register was measured.


Totally, 112 men (1.5 percent) were hospitalized with diverticular disease. A relationship between body mass index and diverticular disease was demonstrated; men with a body mass index between 20 and 22.5 kg/m2 had the lowest risk. After adjustment for covariates, the risk increased linearly in men who had a body mass index of 22.5 to 25 (multiple-adjusted hazard ratio, 2.3; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.9-6; 25-27.5 (hazard ratio, 3 (1.2-7.6)), 27.5-30 (hazard ratio 3.2, (1.2-8.6)), and 30 or greater (hazard ratio 4.4, (1.6-12.3)) kg/m2 (P for linear trend = 0.004). Men with a body mass index of < or =20 kg/m2 had a nonsignificantly elevated risk (hazard ratio, 3 (0.7-12.5)). Smoking (hazard ratio, 1.6 (1.1-2.3) and diastolic blood pressure (hazard ratio, 1.02 (1.01-1.04) per mmHg) also were independently related to risk of diverticular disease.


In a large community-based sample of middle-aged men, overweight and obesity were strongly linked to future severe diverticular disease leading to hospitalization.

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