Many studies have explored the relationship between coffee—one of the most commonly consumed beverages today—and obesity. Despite inconsistent results, the relationship has not been systematically summarized. Thus, we conducted a meta-analysis by compiling data from 12 epidemiologic studies identified from PubMed and Embase through February 2019. The included studies assessed obesity by body mass index (BMI, a measure of overall adiposity) or waist circumference (WC, a measure of central adiposity); analyzed the measure as a continuous outcome or binary outcome. Using random effects model, weighted mean difference (WMD) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were obtained for continuous outcomes; summary relative risk (RR) and 95% CI for the highest vs. lowest categories of coffee intake were estimated for binary outcome. For BMI, WMD was −0.08 (95% CI −0.14, −0.02); RR was 1.49 (95% CI 0.97, 2.29). For WC, WMD was −0.27 (95% CI −0.51, −0.02) and RR was 1.07 (95% CI 0.84, 1.36). In subgroup analysis by sex, evidence for an inverse association was more evident in men, specifically for continuous outcome, with WMD −0.05 (95% CI −0.09, −0.02) for BMI and −0.21 (95% CI −0.35, −0.08) for WC. Our meta-analysis suggests that higher coffee intake might be modestly associated with reduced adiposity, particularly in men.
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