Risk of Chronic Liver Disease in Post-Menopausal Women Due to Body Mass Index, Alcohol and Their Interaction: A Prospective Nested Cohort Study Within the United Kingdom Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS)

BMC Public Health. 2017 Jun 28;17(1):603. doi: 10.1186/s12889-017-4518-y.


Background: We investigated the risk of chronic liver disease (CLD) due to alcohol consumption and body mass index (BMI) and the effects of their interaction in a prospective cohort study of women recruited to the UKCTOCS trial.

Methods: 95,126 post-menopausal women without documented CLD were stratified into 12 groups defined by combinations of BMI (normal, overweight, obese) and alcohol consumption (none, <1-15, 16-20 and ≥21 units/week), and followed for an average of 5.1 years. Hazard ratios (HR) were calculated for incident liver-related events (LRE).

Results: First LREs were reported in 325 (0.34%) participants. Compared to women with normal BMI, HR = 1.44 (95% CI; 1.10-1.87) in the overweight group and HR = 2.25 (95% CI; 1.70-2.97) in the obese group, adjusted for alcohol and potential confounders. Compared to those abstinent from alcohol, HR = 0.70 (95% CI; 0.55-0.88) for <1-15 units/week, 0.93 (95% CI; 0.50-1.73) for 16-20 units/week and 1.82 (95% CI; 0.97-3.39) for ≥21 units/week adjusted for BMI and potential confounders. Compared to women with normal BMI drinking no alcohol, HR for LRE in obese women consuming ≥21 units/week was 2.86 (95% CI; 0.67-12.42), 1.58 (95% CI; 0.96-2.61) for obese women drinking <1-15 units/week and 1.93 (95% CI; 0.66-5.62) in those with normal BMI consuming ≥21 units/week after adjustment for potential confounders. We found no significant interaction between BMI and alcohol.

Conclusion: High BMI and alcohol consumption and abstinence are risk factors for CLD in post-menopausal women. However, BMI and alcohol do not demonstrate significant interaction in this group.

Trial registration: UKCTOCS is registered as an International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial, number ISRCTN22488978 . Registered 06/04/2000.

Keywords: Alcohol; Body mass index; Chronic liver disease; Cirrhosis; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Ethanol / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Overweight / complications
  • Postmenopause
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • United Kingdom


  • Ethanol

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN22488978