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BMC Public Health. 2012; 12: 638.
Published online Aug 10, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1471-2458-12-638
PMCID: PMC3441472
Is waist circumference a better predictor of blood pressure, insulin resistance and blood lipids than body mass index in young Chilean adults?
Macarena Lara,corresponding author1 Patricia Bustos,2 Hugo Amigo,2 Claudio Silva,3 and Roberto J Rona4
1PhD Programme of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile, Independencia, 1027, Santiago, Chile
2Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile, Independencia, 1027, Santiago, Chile
3School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile
4Department of Psychological Medicine, King’s College, London, UK
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Macarena Lara: macarena.lara.m/at/gmail.com; Patricia Bustos: pbustos/at/med.uchile.cl; Hugo Amigo: hamigo/at/med.uchile.cl; Claudio Silva: csilva/at/med.uchile.cl; Roberto J Rona: roberto.rona/at/kcl.ac.uk
Received January 24, 2012; Accepted July 26, 2012.
Abstract
Background
It has been reported that waist circumference (WC) is a better predictor of cardiovascular risk factors than body mass index (BMI), although the findings have not been consistent. The aim of this study was to assess which measurement, BMI or WC, is more strongly associated with blood pressure, homeostatic model assessment (HOMA) and blood lipids in young Chilean adults.
Methods
999 subjects aged 22 to 28 years were randomly selected from a registry of individuals born between 1974 and 1978 at the Hospital of Limache, Chile. Weight, height, WC, blood pressure, HOMA and lipoproteins were assessed in a cross-sectional study.
Results
In multivariable regressions BMI and WC were associated with blood pressure, HOMA and lipoproteins at similar level of explained variation (R2 between 1.6 % for Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) and 15.6 %, the highest for HOMA and triglycerides) and similarly OR in standardised logistic regressions between 1.1 (95 % CI: 0.9 and 1.4) for LDL and 2.9 (95 % CI: 2.4 and 3.4) for elevated HOMA. When both WC and BMI were included in the model collinearity was high and only for HOMA was there a small independent contribution of each index (R2 = 1 %); for other outcomes the pattern was inconsistent.
Conclusion
The strength of the associations of WC and BMI for any cardiovascular risk factors was similar, but highest for HOMA and triglycerides. WC and BMI are equally useful for monitoring the consequences of obesity in young adults.
Keywords: Waist circumference, body mass index, cardiovascular risk factors, young adults
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