Waist-Hip Ratio Better Predictor of Seniors' Mortality

Study finds elevated ratio, not body mass index or waist circumference, is appropriate yardstick
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- In high-functioning older adults, waist-hip ratio is a more accurate predictor of all-cause mortality than either body mass index or waist circumference, according to a study published in the October issue of the Annals of Epidemiology.

Preethi Srikanthan, M.D., of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues analyzed data from the MacArthur Successful Aging Study on 1,189 community-dwelling older men and women, ages 70 to 79 years at baseline, who met six physical and cognitive criteria for high-function status.

The researchers' unadjusted and adjusted analyses found that an increased waist-hip ratio was associated with increased all-cause mortality, and that the association varied by sex. In women, they observed a graded relationship between waist-hip ratio and mortality (relative hazard, 1.28 per 0.1 increase in waist-hip ratio). In men, they observed a threshold relationship (relative hazard, 1.75 for waist-hip ratio above 1.0 compared to a ratio of 1.0 or below). They found no association between body mass index or waist circumference and all-cause mortality.

"However, given our use of self-reported weight and height data, these findings need to be confirmed in other cohorts of older adults," the authors conclude. "Further research into the mechanisms underlying the increased health risks associated with high waist-hip ratio is also needed, specifically to delineate the role of intra-abdominal visceral fat, relative to pelvic bone size, gluteal muscle, and gluteal fat, in older adults' health risks."

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