To investigate the association between the degree of obesity and cataract.
We examined 3248 subjects (1421 men and 1827 women) aged 50 years and older who did not have a previous cataract operation. Data were derived from the fourth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2009). Cataract was evaluated by using Lens Opacities Classification System III. Body mass index was categorized into four groups (underweight, <18.5 kg/m2; normal weight, 18.5 to 22.9 kg/m2; overweight, 23.0 to 24.9 kg/m2; and obese, ≥25.0 kg/m2). Association between the degree of obesity and cataract was evaluated using logistic regression analyses with adjustments of age, the total pack-years of cigarettes smoked, the amount of pure alcohol (g) consumed per day, daily time spent in vigorous physical activity, diabetes mellitus, sunlight exposure, education level, and income.
Compared with the normal-weight group, the overweight group had significantly lower risk of any type of cataract (odds ratio, 0.70; 95% confidence interval, 0.50 to 0.97) in men and (odds ratio, 0.70; 95% confidence interval, 0.51 to 0.97) in women in the multiple logistic regression analyses. We could not find any unusual lifestyles or metabolic risks for explaining this low cataract prevalence in the overweight groups. However, nutrient intakes (e.g., vitamin B2, niacin, vitamin C, and vitamin A) were highest in the overweight group.
The overweight group had significantly lower risk of cataract formation than the normal-weight group in Korean population.