Factors associated with obesity in the Pharmacokinetic and Clinical Observations in People over Fifty (POPPY) cohort: an observational cross-sectional analysis

HIV Med. 2020 Aug;21(7):441-452. doi: 10.1111/hiv.12857. Epub 2020 Apr 20.


Objectives: The aims of the study were to describe the prevalence of obesity in the Pharmacokinetic and Clinical Observations in People over Fifty (POPPY) cohort, to identify demographic, clinical and HIV-specific factors associated with obesity, and to characterize the association between obesity and sociodemographic, clinical and HIV-specific factors and quality of life (QoL).

Methods: A cross-sectional analysis was carried out of baseline data from the three groups ["older" people with HIV infection (PWH) aged ≥ 50 years, "younger" PWH aged < 50 years and HIV-negative controls aged ≥ 50 years] within the POPPY cohort. Obesity was defined as a body mass index (BMI) > 30 kg/m2 .

Results: A total of 1361 subjects were included in the study, of whom 335 (24.6%) were obese. The prevalence of obesity was higher in controls (22.3%) than in older (16.8%) and younger (14.2%) PWH, with no differences between the two groups of PWH. Factors associated with obesity were older age, female gender, black African ethnicity and alcohol consumption. Recreational drug use and a higher current CD4 T-cell count (in PWH) were associated with lower and higher odds of being obese, respectively. The presence of obesity was associated with worse physical health QoL scores, higher odds of having cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and hypertension, but lower odds of having osteopenia/osteoporosis, irrespective of HIV status.

Conclusions: Despite a lower prevalence of obesity in PWH, specific subgroups (women, people of black African origin and older people) were more likely to be obese, and negative health consequences of obesity were evident, regardless of HIV status. Whether targeted preventive strategies can reduce the burden of obesity and its complications in PWH remains to be determined.

Keywords: HIV; comorbidities; obesity; prevalence; risk factors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / immunology
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Recreational Drug Use / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Characteristics
  • United Kingdom / ethnology