Background/Aims: Obesity is a known risk factor for severe acute pancreatitis (AP). Since alcoholic chronic pancreatitis (ACP) is closely linked to alcoholic AP, overweight before disease onset might impact on incidence and outcome of ACP, and represent an additional risk factor for ACP. This issue has not been investigated, despite discussions on the ‘hypercaloric-high-fat’ hypothesis as an additional risk factor for ACP for many years. Methods: The study is part of our prospective long-term study of a large, mixed, medical/surgical series of ACP patients. All cooperative patients were studied according to a protocol regarding clinical symptoms, physical status, routine laboratory tests, pancreatic function and pancreatic morphology (e.g. calcification) at yearly follow-ups. Our study includes 227 ACP patients with recorded body mass index (BMI) before disease onset followed up on average for 18 years from chronic pancreatitis (CP) onset. Results: Males predominated (89.9%), age at onset averaged at 36 years, and exocrine insufficiency (97.4%) and calcification (88.1%) developed in virtually all patients. Surgery for B-type pain was performed in 57.7%, and death occurred in 62.8%. Overweight before disease onset was found in 54.2% (obesity in 15.0%) compared to 37.7% (3.1%) from a contemporary male control population. The highest BMI before disease onset did not impact on some major variables of ACP such as gender, age, progression of exocrine insufficiency, diabetes and calcification, and mortality from CP, except for a delayed progression rate of ACP indices in the surgical series. Conclusion: Overweight before disease onset appears to be another risk factor for ACP, supporting the ‘hypercaloric-high-fat’ hypothesis.

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