Body mass index, waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio cut-off points for categorisation of obesity among Omani Arabs

Jawad A Al-Lawati, Pekka Jousilahti
Public Health Nutrition 2008, 11 (1): 102-8

BACKGROUND: There are no data on optimal cut-off points to classify obesity among Omani Arabs. The existing cut-off points were obtained from studies of European populations.

OBJECTIVE: To determine gender-specific optimal cut-off points for body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) associated with elevated prevalent cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk among Omani Arabs.

DESIGN: A community-based cross-sectional study.

SETTING: The survey was conducted in the city of Nizwa in Oman in 2001.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: The study contained a probabilistic random sample of 1421 adults aged > or =20 years. Prevalent CVD risk was defined as the presence of at least two of the following three risk factors: hyperglycaemia, hypertension and dyslipidaemia. Logistic regression and receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve analyses were used to determine optimal cut-off points for BMI, WC and WHR in relation to the area under the curve (AUC), sensitivity and specificity.

RESULTS: Over 87% of Omanis had at least one CVD risk factor (38% had hyperglycaemia, 19% hypertension and 34.5% had high total cholesterol). All three indices including BMI (AUC = 0.766), WC (AUC = 0.772) and WHR (AUC = 0.767) predicted prevalent CVD risk factors equally well. The optimal cut-off points for men and women respectively were 23.2 and 26.8 kg m-2 for BMI, 80.0 and 84.5 cm for WC, and 0.91 and 0.91 for WHR.

CONCLUSIONS: To identify Omani subjects of Arab ethnicity at high risk of CVD, cut-off points lower than currently recommended for BMI, WC and WHR are needed for men while higher cut-off points are suggested for women.

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