Higher body mass index is associated with greater severity of alopecia in men with male-pattern androgenetic alopecia in Taiwan: a cross-sectional study

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Feb;70(2):297-302.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2013.09.036. Epub 2013 Nov 1.


Background: Obesity is a risk factor for multiple health problems, but its association with androgenetic alopecia (AGA) remains controversial.

Objective: We sought to determine the association between body mass index (BMI) and alopecia severity in men with AGA and early-onset AGA.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted. The medical charts and photographs of men with a clinical diagnosis of AGA were reviewed.

Results: In all, 189 men were enrolled with a mean age of 30.8 years. In male-pattern AGA (n = 142), men with severe alopecia (grade V-VII) had higher BMI than those with mild to moderate alopecia (grade I-IV) (25.1 vs 22.8 kg/m(2), P = .01). After multivariate adjustments, the risk for severe alopecia was higher in the overweight or obese (BMI ≥24 kg/m(2)) subjects with male-pattern AGA (odds ratio 3.52, P < .01). In early-onset male-pattern AGA (n = 46), the risk for having severe alopecia was also higher in the overweight or obese subjects (odds ratio 4.97, P = .03).

Limitations: Parameters used to evaluate obesity were limited because of the retrospective nature of the study.

Conclusions: Higher BMI was significantly associated with greater severity of hair loss in men with male-pattern AGA, especially in those with early-onset AGA.

Keywords: androgenetic alopecia; body mass index; early onset; female-pattern hair loss; male-pattern baldness; obesity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Alopecia / diagnosis
  • Alopecia / epidemiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Taiwan / epidemiology
  • Young Adult