Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Background Associations between adiposity and atrial fibrillation (AF) might differ between sexes. We aimed to determine precise estimates of the risk of AF by body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) in men and women. Methods and Results Between 2008 and 2013, over 3.2 million adults attended commercial screening clinics. Participants completed health questionnaires and underwent physical examination along with cardiovascular investigations, including an ECG. We excluded those with cardiovascular and cardiac disease. We used multivariable logistic regression and determined joint associations of BMI and WC and the risk of AF in men and women by comparing likelihood ratio χ2 statistics. Among 2.1 million included participants 12 067 (0.6%) had AF. A positive association between BMI per 5 kg/m2 increment and AF was observed, with an odds ratio of 1.65 (95% CI, 1.57-1.73) for men and 1.36 (95% CI, 1.30-1.42) for women among those with a BMI above 20 kg/m2. We found a positive association between AF and WC per 10 cm increment, with an odds ratio of 1.47 (95% CI, 1.36-1.60) for men and 1.37 (95% CI, 1.26-1.49) for women. Improvement of likelihood ratio χ2 was equal after adding BMI and WC to models with all participants. In men, WC showed stronger improvement of likelihood ratio χ2 than BMI (30% versus 23%). In women, BMI showed stronger improvement of likelihood ratio χ2 than WC (23% versus 12%). Conclusions We found a positive association between BMI (above 20 kg/m2) and AF and between WC and AF in both men and women. BMI seems a more informative measure about risk of AF in women and WC seems more informative in men.

Original publication




Journal article


J Am Heart Assoc

Publication Date



adiposity, atrial fibrillation, body mass index, sex‐specific risk factors, waist circumference