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Gallstone disease and obesity: a population-based study on abdominal fat distribution and gender differences

Amir Reza Radmard, Shahin Merat, Soheil Kooraki, Mahya Ashrafi, Abbas Keshtkar, Maryam Sharafkhah, Elham Jafari, Reza Malekzadeh, Hossein Poustchi

Abstract

Background. Existing evidence suggests the visceral fat is more metabolically active than subcutaneous fat. We aimed to investigate the value of subcutaneous (SAT) and visceral adipose tissue thickness (VAT) for prediction of gallstone disease (GSD) in general population by focus on gender differences and comparison with body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR). Material and methods. In this cross-sectional survey, 1,494 subjects (51.4 % men), aged above 50, randomly selected from Golestan Cohort Study residing in Gonbad City, Iran, underwent anthropometric measurements and abdominal ultrasonography. Results. Prevalence of GSD was 17.8% (95% CI 15.9-19.8). Following adjustment for age and then other potential risk factors, all obesity indices, except for SAT, were associated with GSD in women with the highest odds ratio observed in WHtR (OR 1.52, 95% CI 1.22-1.89). In contrast, WHR was the only associated index in men (OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.08-2.06). The trend of increasing obesity measures across the quartiles with the risk of GSD was significant in subgroups of WHtR and BMI in women and WHR in men. No significant association was found between SAT and GSD in men or women. Conclusions. The best anthropometric indicators of the risk of GSD may differ by gender. In men, WHR might be the only preferred index to estimate risk of GSD. WHtR, WHR, VAT and BMI are associated with GSD risk in women, although WHtR might better explain this risk. SAT is the poor indicator for identifying subjects with GSD in both genders.

Key words. Gallbladder stone., Visceral fat., Subcutaneous fat., Anthropometric indices., Metabolic syndrome.

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The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for the Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver

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