Abdominal obesity phenotype is associated with COVID-19 chest X-ray severity score better than BMI-based obesity

Alexis Elias Malavazos, Francesco Secchi, Sara Basilico, Gloria Capitanio, Sara Boveri, Valentina Milani, Carola Dubini, Simone Schiaffino, Lelio Morricone, Chiara Foschini, Giulia Gobbo, Rosangela Piccinni, Alessandro Saibene, Francesco Sardanelli, Lorenzo Menicanti, Marco Guazzi, Chuanhui Dong, Massimiliano Marco Corsi Romanelli, Michele Carruba, Gianluca Iacobellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: Chest X-ray (CXR) severity score and BMI-based obesity are predictive risk factors for COVID-19 hospital admission. However, the relationship between abdominal obesity and CXR severity score has not yet been fully explored.

METHODS: This retrospective cohort study analyzed the association of different adiposity indexes, including waist circumference and body mass index (BMI), with CXR severity score in 215 hospitalized patients with COVID-19.

RESULTS: Patients with abdominal obesity showed significantly higher CXR severity scores and had higher rates of CXR severity scores ≥ 8 compared to those without abdominal obesity (P < 0.001; P = 0.001, respectively). By contrast, patients with normal weight, with overweight and those with BMI-based obesity showed no significant differences in either CXR severity scores or in the rates of CXR severity scores ≥ 8 (P = 0.104; P = 0.271, respectively). Waist circumference and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) correlated more closely with CXR severity scores than BMI (r = 0.43, P < 0.001; r = 0.41, P < 0.001; r = 0.17, P = 0.012, respectively). The area under the curves (AUCs) for waist circumference and WHtR were significantly higher than that for BMI in identifying a high CXR severity score (≥ 8) (0.68 [0.60-0.75] and 0.67 [0.60-0.74] vs 0.58 [0.51-0.66], P = 0.001). A multivariate analysis indicated abdominal obesity (risk ratio: 1.75, 95% CI: 1.25-2.45, P < 0.001), bronchial asthma (risk ratio: 1.73, 95% CI: 1.07-2.81, P = 0.026) and oxygen saturation at admission (risk ratio: 0.96, 95% CI: 0.94-0.97, P < 0.001) as the only independent factors associated with high CXR severity scores.

CONCLUSION: Abdominal obesity phenotype is associated with a high CXR severity score better than BMI-based obesity in hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Therefore, when visiting the patient in a hospital setting, waist circumference should be measured, and patients with abdominal obesity should be monitored closely. Level of evidence Cross-sectional descriptive study, Level V.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEating and Weight Disorders
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Apr 5 2021


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