Racial differences in the association between adiposity measures and the risk of hepatitis C-related liver disease

J Clin Gastroenterol. 2012 Oct;46(9):779-88. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e318266f6eb.


Background: African Americans have lower reported likelihood of hepatitis C virus-related cirrhosis than whites. It is unknown whether relative differences in the distribution of adipose tissue, lean mass, and other anthropometric measurements may explain these observed interethnic differences in disease risk.

Aim: : To evaluate the association between anthropometric measurements and advanced liver disease in a cross-sectional study of African American and white male veterans.

Methods: We used the validated FibroSURE-ActiTest to assess hepatic pathology, and direct segmental multichannel bioelectric impedance analysis for anthropometric measurements. Race-stratified logistic regression was employed to evaluate risk of high fibrosis progression rate (FPR) and advanced inflammation (A2 to A3).

Results: Among 330 eligible males (59% African American), there were 43 white and 57 African American males with high FPR, and 70 African American and 59 white with advanced inflammation. Percentage body fat (%BF) was a stronger predictor of high FPR risk than was a high body mass index in African Americans [odds ratio (OR)(adj)=2.08; 95% confidence interval (CI),0.83-5.23 for highest %BF vs. lowest tertile and OR(adj)=1.50; 95% CI,0.60-3.75 for obese vs. normal body mass index, respectively], but not in whites. Highest lean leg mass was associated with a nonsignificant increased risk of both high FPR and advanced inflammation in African Americans (OR(highFPRadj)=1.73; 95% CI, 0.73-4.10; OR(AdvancedinflammationAdj)=1.65; 95% CI, 0.76-3.56) versus a decreased risk of both in whites (OR(highFPRadj)=0.62; 95% CI, 0.21-1.79; OR(AdvancedinflammationAdj)=0.58; 95% CI, 0.22-1.48).

Conclusions: Interethnic differences in nontraditional anthropometric measurements like %BF suggests their potential role in understanding interethnic differences in hepatitis C virus-related liver disease risk in males.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity*
  • Black People
  • Black or African American*
  • Body Fat Distribution*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Hepacivirus
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / ethnology*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / ethnology*
  • Risk
  • Risk Factors
  • Veterans*
  • White People*