Waist-to-Height Ratio Beats BMI for Cardiometabolic Risk

Better predictor than waist circumference, body mass index for cardiometabolic risk

THURSDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) is superior to waist circumference (WC) and body mass index (BMI) for detecting cardiometabolic risk in men and women of different nationalities and ethnicities, according to a review published online Nov. 23 in Obesity Reviews.

Margaret Ashwell, Ph.D., from Ashwell Associates in the United Kingdom, and colleagues reviewed available literature to assess differences in the screening potential of WHtR and WC for adult cardiometabolic risk among different nationalities, and compared both with BMI. A total of 31 studies that used receiver operating characteristics curves for evaluating the discriminatory power of anthropometric indices to differentiate adults with hypertension, type-2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, metabolic syndrome, and general cardiovascular outcomes (CVD), were reviewed and meta-analyzed.

The investigators found that WHtR had significantly greater discriminatory power than BMI based on data on all outcomes, averaged within study groups. WC and WHtR significantly improved discrimination of adverse outcomes by 3 and 4 to 5 percent, respectively. In analysis of the within-study differences, WHtR was found to be significantly better than WC for diabetes, hypertension, CVD, and all outcomes in men and women.

"This systematic review and meta-analysis is the first to show that WHtR was a better predictor than WC for diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and CVD risk in both sexes in populations of various nationalities and ethnic groups," the authors write.

One of the study authors devised and copyrighted the Ashwell Shape Chart, which is distributed to health professionals on a non-profit making basis.

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