Gallstone disease risk in relation to body mass index and waist-to-hip ratio in Japanese men

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OBJECTIVE: To examine the relation of body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) to gallstones and postcholecystectomy risk in middle-aged Japanese men.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

SUBJECTS: We used 174 men with prevalent gallstones, 104 with postcholecystectomy and 6909 with normal gallbladder in the consecutive series of 7637 men aged 48–59 y receiving a preretirement health examination at four hospitals of the Japan Self-Defense Forces between 1986 and 1994.

MEASUREMENTS: Gallbladder status was assessed by abdominal ultrasonography after an overnight fast. BMI was calculated as weight in kilogram divided by height in square meters, and WHR was used as a measure of central obesity. Analysis of the WHR was limited to a subset of data for the period 1991–1994 (gallstones 113, postcholecystectomy 66 and normal gallbladder 4410).

RESULTS: After adjustment for hospital, rank in the Self-Defense Forces, cigarette smoking, alcohol use and glucose tolerance, BMI was significantly associated with an increased risk of both prevalent gallstones and postcholecystectomy. WHR also showed a significant positive association with each of the two conditions. When BMI and WHR were mutually adjusted for, both of the obesity indices tended to be associated positively with prevalent gallstones and postcholecystectomy.

CONCLUSION: These findings indicate that obesity is associated with increased gallstone risk in men.

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Correspondence to H Kodama.

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  • body mass index
  • gallstone disease
  • Japanese men
  • waist-to-hip ratio

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