Association between abdominal obesity and increased risk for the development of hypertension regardless of physical activity: A nationwide population-based study

Taskforce Team of the Obesity Fact Sheet of the Korean Society for the Study of Obesity

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The presence of abdominal obesity and lack of physical activity are both risk factors for the development of hypertension. The aim of this study was to analyze the risk of developing hypertension according to baseline waist circumference (WC). In total, 16 312 476 non-hypertensive participants who were covered by the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) from 2009 to 2012 in Korea were included in the study. The participants were divided into six groups according to the level of baseline WC with a 5-cm interval starting from 80 cm in men and 75 cm in women. The risk for the future development of hypertension was assessed in 2015 using the claims data on the diagnosis of hypertension and prescription of anti-hypertensive medications. Approximately 7.8% of the participants developed hypertension over a median follow-up of 5.48 years. The proportion of participants who developed hypertension significantly increased from 4.2% in the WC level 1% to 17.5% in the WC level 6. After adjusting for confounding factors, level 6 of the baseline WC had a higher hazard ratio (HR) for the development of hypertension among the 6 levels of baseline with level 3 as the reference (1736; 95% confidence interval [95% CI]: 1.72-1.753). The participants with abdominal obesity had a significantly higher HR than those without abdominal obesity regardless of whether they engage in high- or moderate-intensity physical intensity (1.741; 95% CI: 1.718-1.764). WC had a linear association with the development of hypertension based on this large nationwide population-based cohort study, which was not influenced by physical activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1417-1426
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Hypertension
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Oct 1



  • abdominal obesity
  • hypertension
  • nationwide population-based study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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