Waist circumference in relation to history of amount and type of alcohol: results from the Copenhagen City Heart Study

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 Feb;27(2):238-46. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.802203.


Objective: To examine the long-term association between the amount and type of alcohol consumed and subsequent high waist circumference.

Design: Prospective population study with baseline assessment of alcohol intake, body mass index, smoking habit, physical activity, education, income and deliveries, and after 10 y, examination of waist circumference.

Subjects: A sample of 2916 men and 3970 women aged 20-83 y from Copenhagen City Heart Study, Denmark.

Measurements: A large waist circumference defined as a waist circumference more than 102 cm in men and 88 cm in women.

Results: The odds ratios of having a high waist circumference after 10 y showed a linear increase in both men and women, and they were 1.65 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.07-2.55) in men and 2.16 (0.86-5.14) in women who drank more than 28 beverages per week of total alcohol compared to those who drank one to six beverages per week. Men drinking more than 21 beers per week had odds ratio of having a large waist circumference after 10 y of 1.63 (0.99-2.67) and women drinking more than 14 beers per week had odds ratio of 2.53 (0.92-6.34), compared to men and women who drank no beer. Also for spirits, there was an increase in both men and women. No linear trend was found for wine in either men or women.

Conclusions: Moderate-to-high consumption of alcohol and of beer and spirits was associated with later high waist circumference, whereas moderate-to-high wine consumption may have the opposite effect.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking / pathology*
  • Alcoholic Beverages*
  • Anthropometry
  • Beer
  • Body Constitution*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prospective Studies
  • Smoking / pathology
  • Wine