Body adiposity index and cardiovascular health risk factors in Caucasians: a comparison with the body mass index and others

Miquel Bennasar-Veny, Angel A Lopez-Gonzalez, Pedro Tauler, Mey L Cespedes, Teofila Vicente-Herrero, Aina Yañez, Matias Tomas-Salva, Antoni Aguilo
PloS One 2013, 8 (5): e63999

BACKGROUND: Several studies have shown a relation between the adipose tissue accumulation and a higher risk for developing metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Thus, body fat content and, mainly, the fat distribution or adiposity could be considered as important indicators of health risk. In spite of presenting several limitations, BMI is the most widely used and accepted index for classifying overweight and obesity. The aim of the study was to evaluate the correlations between Body Adiposity Index (BAI), BMI and other adiposity indexes such as WC, WHR and WHtR with cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors. Furthermore, the behavior of BAI and BMI regarding the ability to discriminate overweight or obese individuals was also analyzed.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Spanish Caucasian adult workers. Participants in the study (29.214 men and 21.040 women, aged 20-68 years) were systematically selected during their work health periodic examinations. BAI, BMI, WHR, WHtR, body weight, hip and waist circumference (WC) as well as systolic and diastolic blood pressure were measured. Serum levels of high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), triglycerides (TG) and glucose were also determined. Results of the study indicated that BAI was less correlated with cardiovascular risk factors and metabolic risk factors than other adiposity indexes (BMI, WC and WHtR). The best correlations were found for WHtR. In addition, the BAI presented lower discriminatory capacity than BMI for diagnosing metabolic syndrome (MS) using both IDF and ATP III criteria. A different behavior of the BAI in men and women when considering the ability to discriminate overweight or obese individuals was also observed.

CONCLUSIONS: The adiposity indexes that include the waist circumference (WHtR and WC) may be better candidates than BAI and BMI to evaluate metabolic and cardiovascular risk in both clinical practice and research.

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