Waist-to-height ratio and cardiovascular risk factors among Chinese adults in Beijing

Li Cai, Aiping Liu, Yumei Zhang, Peiyu Wang
PloS One 2013, 8 (7): e69298

OBJECTIVES: To examine whether waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) performed better than, body mass index (BMI) or waist circumference (WC) in relation to hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia among Chinese adults in Beijing.

METHODS: A total of 5720 adults (2371 men and 3349 nonpregnant women) aged 18 to 79 years were selected from the general population in a cross-sectional study. Data from a standardized questionnaire, physical examination, and blood sample were obtained.

RESULTS: The area under curve (AUC) values for WHtR (0.661-0.773) were significantly higher than those for BMI for all outcomes in both sexes, except that WHtR and BMI had similar AUCs for dyslipidemia in men. The AUCs for WHtR were significantly higher than those for WC with respect to hypertension in both sexes, and to diabetes in women. AUCs for the relationships between anthropometric indices and the three outcomes were larger in women than in men, and tended to decrease with age. Optimal cutoffs for WHtR were 0.51-0.53 and 0.48-0.50 in men and women, respectively. With regard to the current Chinese criteria for BMI (≥ 24 kg/m(2)), WC (≥ 90 cm for men, and ≥ 85 cm for women), and the recommended cutoff of WHtR (≥ 0.5), WHtR yielded the greatest odds ratio for hypertension and diabetes in both sexes, and dyslipidemia in women. BMI had the highest odds ratio for dyslipidemia in men. The odds ratios of anthropometric indices for hypertension and diabetes, but not for dyslipidemia, were higher in women than in men. The association between anthropometric indices and the three outcomes decreased with age.

CONCLUSION: WHtR performed better than BMI and WC for the association with hypertension and diabetes. More studies should be conducted to explore the age differences in the relationships between obesity indices and cardiovascular risk factors.

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