Is body shape a better indicator of cardiovascular risk than BMI in postmenopausal women?


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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Postmenopausal women who are 'apple' shaped rather than 'pear' shaped are at greater risk of cardiovascular problems, even if they have a normal, healthy body mass index (BMI) suggests new research. 

The authors say the findings highlight the need to use anthropometric measures that better reflect regional fat distribution to identify an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).  

The study included 2,683 postmenopausal women with normal BMI (18.5 to 2) who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative and had no known CVD at baseline. Body composition was determined by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. During a median follow-up of 17.9 years, there were 291 incident CVD cases. 

The study found neither whole-body fat mass nor fat percentage was associated with CVD risk. However, higher per cent trunk fat was associated with an increased CVD risk (highest vs. lowest quartile hazard ratio [HR] 1.91; 95% CI 1.33-2.74; P-trend<.001 whereas higher per cent leg fat was with a decreased risk vs. lowest quartile hr ci p-trend=".008)." trunk combined lower associated more than three-fold of cvd.>

The study is published in the European Heart Journal