Atopic Eczema and Obesity: Is There a Link?

Sarfaroj Khan 


October 28, 2020


  • This study found a small association between diagnosed atopic eczema and being overweight or obese.

  • However, no association was seen between severe atopic eczema and being overweight or obese.

Why this matters

  • Findings are largely reassuring for patients with atopic eczema who may already have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Study design

  • This large cross-sectional analysis of a large, population-based cohort included 441,746 patients with atopic eczema and 1,849,722 matched participants without atopic eczema using UK primary care data.

  • Funding: Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship.

Key results

  • After adjusting for age, asthma and socio-economic deprivation, people with atopic eczema had slightly higher odds of being overweight or obese vs those without (OR, 1.08; 95% CI, 1.07-1.09).

  • Adjusting for potential mediators (high-dose oral glucocorticoid use, harmful alcohol use, anxiety, depression and smoking) made little difference to the point estimate (OR, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.06-1.08).

  • In secondary analysis, after adjusting for age, asthma and socio-economic deprivation:

    • mild and moderate atopic eczema was associated with higher odds of being overweight and obese (OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.05-1.07 and OR, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.13-1.16, respectively).

    • No evidence was found for an association between severe atopic eczema and being overweight or obese (OR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.96-1.03).

    • Women vs men with atopic eczema were slightly more likely to be overweight or obese (OR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.08-1.10 vs 1.06; 95% CI, 1.04-1.07).


  • Study did not provide information on temporality.


Ascott A, Mansfield KE, Schonmann Y, Mulick A, Abuabara K, Roberts A, Smeeth L, Langan SM. Atopic eczema and obesity: a population-based study. Br J Dermatol. 2020 Oct 8 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1111/bjd.19597. PMID: 33090454.  View abstract

This clinical summary originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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