The Relationship Between Serum Copper and Overweight/Obesity: a Meta-analysis

  • Kunfang Gu
  • Xuekui Li
  • Wenzhi Xiang
  • Xiubo JiangEmail author


The relationship between serum copper (Cu) level and overweight/obesity remains controversial. The purpose of this meta-analysis is to evaluate the relationship. A comprehensive literature search was performed in PubMed, Web of Science, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), and Wanfang databases for relevant articles until March 20, 2019. The random-effect model (REM) was adopted to compute the combined standardized mean difference (SMD) with 95% confidence interval (CI). Publication bias was estimated using the visualization of funnel plots and Egger’s test. In the end, twenty-one articles were included in the meta-analysis. Compared with controls, serum Cu level was higher in obese children (SMD (95% CI) 0.74 (0.16, 1.32)) and in obese adults (SMD (95% CI) 0.39 (0.02, 0.76)). There was no significant difference in serum Cu between overweight and control groups in children (SMD (95% CI) 1.52 (− 0.07, 3.12)) and in adults (SMD (95% CI) 0.16 (− 0.06, 0.38)). Moreover, subgroup analysis revealed a higher serum Cu level in obese children (SMD (95% CI) 0.90 (0.36, 1.45)) and obese adults (SMD (95% CI) 0.47 (0.05, 0.88)) compared with healthy weight controls. The SMD differs significantly between obese children diagnosed by weight-for-height and controls (SMD (95% CI) 1.56 (0.57, 2.55)), and there was a significant difference of serum Cu level between obese adults diagnosed by BMI (WHO) and controls (SMD (95% CI) 0.54 (0.08, 1.01)). This meta-analysis indicates that a higher serum Cu level might be associated with the risk of obesity in children and adults, and these findings need to be further confirmed.


Copper Cu Overweight Obesity Meta-analysis 



This work was funded by the Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province (grant number ZR2015HM029) and Qingdao Science and Technology Bureau (grant number 186179nsh).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (PDF 208 kb)
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ESM 2 (PDF 14 kb)
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Influence analysis of an individual study on the pooled estimate for studies on the association between Cu level and obesity risk in children (PNG 76 kb)

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High Resolution Image (TIF 132 kb)
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Influence analysis of an individual study on the pooled estimate for studies on the association between Cu level and obesity risk in adults (PNG 39 kb)

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High Resolution Image (TIF 90 kb)
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Funnel plot for the analysis of Cu level and obese children (PNG 84 kb)

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High Resolution Image (TIF 684 kb)
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Funnel plot for the analysis of Cu level and obese adults (PNG 86 kb)

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High Resolution Image (TIF 654 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and Health StatisticsThe Medical College of Qingdao UniversityQingdaoChina
  2. 2.Qingdao Municipal Center for Disease Control and PreventionQingdao Institute of Prevention MedicineQingdaoChina

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