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Waist-to-hip ratio but not body mass index predicts liver cirrhosis in women.

Journal article
Authors Andreas Schult
Kirsten Mehlig
Cecilia Björkelund
Sven Wallerstedt
Jerzy Kaczynski
Published in Scandinavian journal of gastroenterology
Volume 53
Issue 2
Pages 212-217
ISSN 1502-7708
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Institute of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Public Health Epidemiology Unit
Institute of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Pages 212-217
Language en
Subject categories Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Clinical Medicine


Being overweight can lead to fatty liver and end-stage liver disease. In men, higher body mass index is associated with higher risk of developing liver cirrhosis. The extent of association between overweight and liver cirrhosis in women is not fully elucidated.This study aimed to investigate the association between overweight and liver cirrhosis in women, taking into account different measures of adipose tissue distribution.A cohort of 1462 middle-aged women was followed over 40 years. Cases of liver cirrhosis were identified by linkage to Hospital Discharge and Death Certificate registries. The hazard ratios for different anthropometric measures and liver cirrhosis were obtained by Cox proportional hazard regression, using propensity score methods to adjust for important confounders.During 48,062 person-years of follow-up, 11 cases of liver cirrhosis were identified. The incidence rate in women with waist-to-hip ratio ≥ 0.8 was 131.8 (48.1-287.0), compared to 12.0 (3.9-28.1) in women with a lower ratio. A waist-to-hip ratio ≥ 0.8 was associated with an increased risk of liver cirrhosis, the hazard ratio being 5.8 (95% confidence interval 1.6-21.4). No association between body mass index and liver cirrhosis was found and the hazard ratio for body mass index >25 was 1.8 (0.5-5.8).In women, an unfavorable adipose tissue distribution is more important for development of liver cirrhosis than total body fat per se. When assessing the risk for development of liver cirrhosis in women, waist-to-hip ratio is a better predictor than body mass index.

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