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Open Access Research article

Could the Sasang constitution itself be a risk factor of abdominal obesity?

Eunsu Jang, Younghwa Baek, Kihyun Park and Siwoo Lee*

Author Affiliations

Division of Constitutional Medicine/Diagnosis Research Group, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, 1672 Yuseongdae-ro, Yuseong-gu, 305-811, Daejeon, Republic of Korea

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:72  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-72

Published: 2 April 2013



Abdominal obesity (AO) is a medical condition in which excess body fat accumulates in the abdomen. It may cause adverse effects on health and result in reduced life expectancy or increased health problems. While various genetic approaches have explained the risks of AO in Western society, the Sasang constitution (SC) has been identified as a risk factor in Korean medicine. Different SC types are associated with different fat distribution, body shapes and susceptibility to diseases. We evaluated whether the SC type could be a risk for AO in a cross-sectional study among Koreans.


In total, 2,528 subjects aged over 30 years were recruited from 23 medical clinics. We collected waist circumference (WC), weight, height, and some clinical information for AO from the subjects. A Chi-square test and a one-way ANOVA were performed according to SC type (p < .05), while multiple logistic regression was used to produce odds ratios (ORs).


The rates of AO in Tae-eumin (TE), Soeumin (SE), and Soyangin (SY) types were 63.7%, 14.7%, and 32.8% in males and 84.8%, 41.7%, and 52.8% in females, respectively. The TE type was associated with increased AO prevalence compared with the SE and SY types in males (OR 1.79; 95% CI 1.02–3.15, p = 0.044 and OR 1.74; 95% CI 1.18–2.58, p = 0.006, respectively) and females (OR 1.51; 95% CI 1.03–2.23, p = 0.037 and OR 1.88; 95% CI 1.32–2.68, p < 0.001, respectively) after adjusting for age, BMI, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hypertriglyceridemia, and low HDL cholesterol.


This study suggested that SC, particularly the TE type, might be significantly and independently associated with AO and could be considered a risk factor in predicting AO.

Abdominal obesity; Sasang constitutional medicine; Prevalence; Waist circumference; Risk factor