Objective: Obesity has gained attention among patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The impact of visceral obesity on chronic constipation, inflammation, immune function and cognition after diagnosis of IBD is still unknown.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study of 150 IBD patients. Patients’ visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) were measured and were grouped according to visceral obesity. The potential impact of visceral obesity on cognitive function were evaluated using Mini-Mental State Examination. We evaluated patients’ incidence of chronic constipation, levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), T cells and body mass index in two groups.

Results: The prevalence of visceral obesity was 51% (37 out of 72) for Crohn’s disease (CD) patients and 26% for UC patients (20 out of 78 patients). CD patients with visceral obesity has higher incidence of chronic constipation (81% vs. 57%, P = 0.028), higher IL-6 levels (15.28 pg/ml vs. 9.429 pg/ml, P = 0.007) and lower CD4+ T cells (32.7% vs. 44.0%, P < 0.001). VAT/SAT ratio is associated with BMI (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: IBD patients had high risks of visceral obesity. CD Patients with visceral obesity had higher prevalence of chronic constipation, higher inflammation levels, decreased immune function.