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Front. Physiol. | doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.01397

Sex differences in the associations of obesity with hypothyroidism and thyroid autoimmunity among Chinese adults

 Bin Wang1, 2*, Ronghua Song3, Weiwei He4, Qiuming Yao2, Qian Li2,  Xi Jia2 and Jin-an Zhang2
  • 1Fudan University, China
  • 2Department of Endocrinology, Jinshan Hospital, Fudan University, China
  • 3Yanan University Affiliated Hospital, China
  • 4Department of Endocrinology, Affiliated Hospital of Yanan Medical University, Shaanxi 716000, China;, China

There is an intensive link between obesity and thyroid dysfunction, but this relationship in Asians is still unclear. This study was conducted to define the impact of obesity on risk of hypothyroidism and thyroid autoimmunity among Chinese adults. A population-based, cross-sectional study was carried out, which enrolled a total of 2,808 Chinese adults. To assess the associations of obesity with hypothyroidism and thyroid autoimmunity, odds ratio (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (95%CIs) were calculated through logistic regression model, and the correlations of body mass index (BMI) with TPOAb and TGAb were also analyzed. Obese females had higher risk of hypothyroidism (22.7% vs. 15.0%; OR = 1.66, 95%CI 1.10-2.53; P = 0.02) and higher risk of subclinical hypothyroidism (22.1% vs. 13.4%; OR = 1.83, 95%CI 1.20-2.80; P = 0.005) than non-obese females. Multivariate logistic regression analysis found significant associations of obesity with hypothyroidism (Adjusted OR = 1.54, 95%CI 1.00-2.38; P = 0.05) and subclinical hypothyroidism (Adjusted OR = 1.69, 95%CI 1.09-2.63; P = 0.02) in females after adjustment for confounding factors. No association between obesity and hypothyroidism was observed in male participants. Spearman's correlation analysis suggested BMI was significantly and positively correlated with TPOAb (Spearman's r = 0.062, P = 0.022) in men but not in women. Linear regression analysis suggested an obviously positive correlation of BMI with TPOAb in men (β = 0.018, P = 0.015) and an obviously negative correlation of BMI with TGAb in women (β = -0.025, P = 0.012), respectively. The study suggests sex differences in the associations of obesity with hypothyroidism and thyroid autoimmunity among Chinese adults. Further studies are needed to better understand the exact mechanism of sex difference in the obesity-thyroid relationship.

Keywords: Obesity, Hypothyroidism, thyroid autoimmunity, thyroid, risk factor

Received: 26 Jun 2018; Accepted: 13 Sep 2018.

Edited by:

Luigi Iuliano, Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, Italy

Reviewed by:

David Bernlohr, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, United States
Massimino D'Armiento, Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, Italy  

Copyright: © 2018 Wang, Song, He, Yao, Li, Jia and Zhang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Bin Wang, Fudan University, Shanghai, China, binwang16@fudan.edu.cn