Measures of Adiposity and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors
Objective: To determine which of five measures of adiposity maintains the strongest association with cardiovascular disease risk factors. Research Methods and Procedures: A nationally representative sample of 12,608 adult participants of the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were examined. Waist circumference, total body fat, percent body fat, BMI, and skinfold thickness were measured following a standardized protocol. Results: In multivariable adjusted models including waist circumference and BMI as independent variables, waist circumference was a significantly better predictor. The odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) for each standard deviation higher waist circumference and BMI for men were as follows: 1.88 (1.43, 2.48) and 0.99 (0.76, 1.29), respectively, for hypertension; 1.51 (0.87, 2.59) and 1.23 (0.76, 1.99), respectively, for diabetes; and 1.85 (1.48, 2.32) and 1.00 (0.80, 1.24), respectively, for low high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol. The analogous odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) for women were as follows: 2.28 (1.74, 3.00) and 0.91 (0.69, 1.19), respectively, for hypertension; 2.72 (1.85, 4.00) and 0.82 (0.55, 1.23), respectively, for diabetes; and 1.90 (1.47, 2.47) and 1.07 (0.83, 1.38), respectively, for low high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol. Results were markedly similar for waist circumference in models adjusting for total body fat, percent body fat, and skinfold thickness separately. In contrast, waist circumference was not a significantly better predictor of elevated C-reactive protein than the other measures of adiposity. Discussion: Waist circumference maintains a stronger association with cardiovascular disease risk factors than other measures of adiposity.