Betel Nut Chewing Is Strongly Associated With General and Central Obesity in Chinese Male Middle-aged Adults

Authors

  • Wen-Yuan Lin,

    1. Department of Family Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan
    2. Graduate Institute of Clinical Medical Science, College of Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
    3. Obesity Research Center, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, Columbia University–College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York, USA
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  • F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer,

    1. Obesity Research Center, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, Columbia University–College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York, USA
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  • Chiu-Shong Liu,

    1. Department of Family Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan
    2. Graduate Institute of Clinical Medical Science, College of Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
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  • Tsai-Chung Li,

    1. Graduate Institute of Chinese Medical Science, College of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
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  • Chia-Ing Li,

    1. Department of Medical Research, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan
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  • Chih-Yang Huang,

    1. Graduate Institute of Basic Medical Science, College of Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
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  • Cheng-Chieh Lin

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Family Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan
    2. Graduate Institute of Clinical Medical Science, College of Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
    3. Institute of Health Care Administration, College of Health Science, Asia University, Taichung, Taiwan
      (cclin@www.cmuh.org.tw)
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(cclin@www.cmuh.org.tw)

Abstract

Betel nut chewing has been reported to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. The reason is unclear. In this study, we investigated the association between betel nut chewing and general obesity (BMI ≥25 kg/m2) and central obesity (waist circumference (WC) ≥90 cm). A total of 1,049 male subjects, aged ≥40 years, were recruited from Taichung city in Taiwan in 2004. The relationships between betel nut chewing and general and central obesity were studied by multiple linear and logistic regression analyses. The prevalence of current and former betel nut chewing was 7.0 and 10.5% in our male Taiwanese cohort. Current/former betel nut chewers had a higher prevalence of general and central obesity when compared with individuals who had never chewed betel nut. Adjusted for age, diabetes, hypertension, lipids, smoking, alcohol drinking, physical activity, income, and education level, the odds ratios (ORs; 95% confidence intervals) of general and central obesity among the lower consumption of betel nut chewers were 1.78 (1.07, 2.96) and 1.19 (0.70, 2.02), respectively, compared to 2.01 (1.18, 3.41) and 1.89 (1.10, 3.23), respectively, among higher consumption chewers compared to individuals who had never chewed betel nut. The increasing ORs of general and central obesity with higher betel nut consumption revealed dose–response effects. Using multiple linear regression analyses, after adjusting for potential confounders, betel nut consumption was statistically significantly associated with BMI and WC. In conclusion, betel nut chewing was independently associated with general and central obesity in Taiwanese men. Dose–response effects of the association between betel nut consumption and general obesity as well as central obesity were found.

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