Obesity attenuates gender differences in cardiovascular mortality

Xin Song*, Adam G. Tabak, Bjoern Zethelius, John S. Yudkin, Stefan Soederberg, Tiina Laatikainen, Coen D. A. Stehouwer, Rachel Dankner, Pekka Jousilahti, Altan Onat, Peter M. Nilsson, Ilhan Satman, Olga Vaccaro, Jaakko Tuomilehto, Qing Qiao

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: To estimate cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality in relation to obesity and gender. Methods: Data from 11 prospective cohorts from four European countries including 23 629 men and 21 965 women, aged 24 to 99 years, with a median follow-up of 7.9 years were analyzed. Hazards ratios (HR) for CVD mortality in relation to baseline body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) were estimated using Cox proportional hazards models with age as the timescale. Results: Men had higher CVD mortality than women in all four BMI categories (= 35.0 kg/m(2)). Compared with the lowest BMI category in women, multivariable adjusted HRs (95% confidence intervals) for higher BMI categories are 1.0 (0.8-1.4), 1.6 (1.1-2.1) and 2.8 (2.0-3.8) in women and 2.8 (2.2-3.6), 3.1 (2.5-3.9), 3.8 (2.9-4.9) and 5.4 (3.8-7.7) in men, respectively. Similar findings were observed for abdominal obesity defined by WC, WHR or WHtR. The gender difference was slightly smaller in obese than in non-obese individuals; but the interaction was statistically significant only between gender and WC (p = 0.02), and WHtR (p = 0.01). None of the interaction terms was significant among non-diabetic individuals. Conclusions: Men had higher CVD mortality than women across categories of anthropometric measures of obesity. The gender difference was attenuated in obese individuals, which warrants further investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number144
JournalCardiovascular Diabetology
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2014


  • Obesity
  • Gender
  • Cardiovascular disease mortality

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