Health and mortality consequences of abdominal obesity: Evidence from the AusDiab study

Adrian J. Cameron, David W. Dunstan, Neville Owen, Paul Z. Zimmet, Elizabeth L M Barr, Andrew M. Tonkin, Dianna J. Magliano, Shirley G. Murray, Timothy A. Welborn, Jonathan E. Shaw

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58 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To provide an estimate of the morbidity and mortality resulting from abdominal overweight and obesity in the Australian population. Design and setting: Prospective, national, population-based study (the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle [AusDiab] study). Participants: 6072 men and women aged ≥25 years at study entry between May 1999 and December 2000, and aged ≤75 years, not pregnant and for whom there were waist circumference data at the follow-up survey between June 2004 and December 2005. Main outcome measures: Incident health outcomes (type 2 diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidaemia, the metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases) at 5 years and mortality at 8 years. Comparison of outcome measures between those classified as abdominally overweight or obese and those with a normal waist circumference at baseline, and across quintiles of waist circumference, and (for mortality only) waist-to-hip ratio. Results: Abdominal obesity was associated with odds ratios of between 2 and 5 for incident type 2 diabetes, dyslipidaemia, hypertension and the metabolic syndrome. The risk of myocardial infarction among obese participants was similarly increased in men (hazard ratio [HR], 2.75; 95% CI, 1.08-7.03), but not women (HR, 1.43; 95% CI, 0.37-5.50). Abdominal obesity-related population attributable fractions for these outcomes ranged from 13% to 47%, and were highest for type 2 diabetes. No significant associations were observed between all-cause mortality and increasing quintiles of abdominal obesity. Conclusions: Our findings confirm that abdominal obesity confers a considerably heightened risk for type 2 diabetes, the metabolic syndrome (as well as its components) and cardiovascular disease, and they provide important information that enables a more precise estimate of the burden of disease attributable to obesity in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-208
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Cameron, A. J., Dunstan, D. W., Owen, N., Zimmet, P. Z., Barr, E. L. M., Tonkin, A. M., ... Shaw, J. E. (2009). Health and mortality consequences of abdominal obesity: Evidence from the AusDiab study. Medical Journal of Australia, 191(4), 202-208.