Waist-to-height ratio bests BMI for determining African-American CVD risk

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Takeaway

  • Waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) may be a better measure than BMI for identifying African-American adults at elevated risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Why this matters

  • Given the high rates of cardiovascular disease and metabolic risk factors in this population, it is important to develop validated, easy-to-measure indicators of CVD risk for clinical use, say researchers. 

Study design

  • Researchers examined data from African-American adults (n=4758), including measures of BMI, WHtR, and 5 CVD risk factors.
  • C-statistics were computed and compared for BMI and WHtR to assess their associations with each risk factor. 
  • Funding: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Key results

  • WHtR was more strongly related than BMI to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (C-statistic difference, −0.0129; P=.0002), triglycerides (C-statistic difference, −0.0199; P<.0001), diabetes (C-statistic difference, −0.0204; P<.0001), hypertension (C-statistic difference, −0.0047; P=.0120), and multiple risk factors (C-statistic difference, −0.0181; P<.0001).

Limitations

  • The study was cross-sectional and could not show causality.
  • The researchers did not examine relationships between BMI or WHtR and CVD events.