Determination of the leading central obesity index among cardiovascular risk factors in Iranian women

Touran Shahraki, Mansour Shahraki, Masoud Roudbari, Bahram Pourghassem Gargari
Food and Nutrition Bulletin 2008, 29 (1): 43-8

BACKGROUND: It is unknown whether the waist circumference (WC) or the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is a better predictor of cardiovascular risk factors at different ages.

OBJECTIVE: To compare WC and WHR as predictors of cardiovascular risk factors and to determine the prevalence of some cardiovascular risk factors in overweight and obese adult women at different ages.

METHODS: In this clinical cross-sectional study, 714 overweight and obese women aged 20 to 70 years who were referred to two nutrition clinics in Sistan and Baluchestan province, Islamic Republic of Iran, were studied. The subjects were classified into three groups, 20 to < 35, 35 to < 50, and > or = 50 years of age. Anthropometric indices were measured according to the standard protocol. Total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and TC/HDL-C ratios were enzymatically determined.

RESULTS: Older subjects (> or = 50 years old) had significantly higher values of body mass index (BMI), WC, TC, TG, and LDL-C than those in the two younger age classes. The prevalence rates of obesity, high WC, high WHR, high TC, high TG, high LDL-C, and high TC/ HDL-C ratios were higher in the older subjects. After adjustment for age and BMI, multiple linear regression showed that WC was significantly related to TC and TG in the 20- to < 35-year-old group and to TG in the 35- to < 50-year-old group. In the older participants, WHR was significantly related to TG.

CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors increases with age. In clinical practice, WC is a better index for predicting some cardiovascular risk factors in younger and middle-aged women; however, for older women, WHR is better.

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