Background/aims: To determine the prevalence of obesity and investigate factors associated with obesity in a hepatitis C antibody positive clinic population.
Methods: We reviewed 3505 patient records (1990-2006) from a liver clinic in Toronto. We used regression analysis to explore factors associated with obesity. We compared the prevalence of obesity among propensity matched patients by hepatitis C ribonucleic acid status.
Results: Patients (1118) met inclusion criteria. The prevalence of obesity in this clinic population was 28.8%. In multiple regression analyses, older age (odds ratio 1.02; 95% confidence interval 1.00-1.04) and a positive hepatitis C ribonucleic acid test (odds ratio 1.80; 95% confidence interval 1.11-2.92) were independently associated with obesity. In the analysis comparing 112 propensity matched pairs, the prevalence of obesity was significantly higher among hepatitis C ribonucleic acid positive patients than in matched patients who tested negative (32.1% vs. 18.8%; p=0.02). Supplemental analysis by excluding patients with probable fatty liver disease strengthened the association between hepatitis C viremia and obesity.
Conclusions: Hepatitis C viremia may be associated with an increased prevalence of obesity observed in a tertiary referral clinic for hepatitis C.