Comparison of Body Mass Index (BMI), Body Adiposity Index (BAI), Waist Circumference (WC), Waist-To-Hip Ratio (WHR) and Waist-To-Height Ratio (WHtR) as predictors of cardiovascular disease risk factors in an adult population in Singapore

Benjamin Chih Chiang Lam, Gerald Choon Huat Koh, Cynthia Chen, Michael Tack Keong Wong, Stephen J Fallows
PloS One 2015, 10 (4): e0122985

BACKGROUND: Excess adiposity is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus and dyslipidemia. Amongst the various measures of adiposity, the best one to help predict these risk factors remains contentious. A novel index of adiposity, the Body Adiposity Index (BAI) was proposed in 2011, and has not been extensively studied in all populations. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to compare the relationship between Body Mass Index (BMI), Waist Circumference (WC), Waist-to-Hip Ratio (WHR), Waist-to-Height Ratio (WHtR), Body Adiposity Index (BAI) and CVD risk factors in the local adult population.

METHODS AND FINDINGS: This is a cross sectional study involving 1,891 subjects (Chinese 59.1% Malay 22.2%, Indian 18.7%), aged 21-74 years, based on an employee health screening (2012) undertaken at a hospital in Singapore. Anthropometric indices and CVD risk factor variables were measured, and Spearman correlation, Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curves and multiple logistic regressions were used. BAI consistently had the lower correlation, area under ROC and odd ratio values when compared with BMI, WC and WHtR, although differences were often small with overlapping 95% confidence intervals. After adjusting for BMI, BAI did not further increase the odds of CVD risk factors, unlike WC and WHtR (for all except hypertension and low high density lipoprotein cholesterol). When subjects with the various CVD risk factors were grouped according to established cut-offs, a BMI of ≥23.0 kg/m2 and/or WHtR ≥0.5 identified the highest proportion for all the CVD risk factors in both genders, even higher than a combination of BMI and WC.

CONCLUSIONS: BAI may function as a measure of overall adiposity but it is unlikely to be better than BMI. A combination of BMI and WHtR could have the best clinical utility in identifying patients with CVD risk factors in an adult population in Singapore.


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