Waist-to-height ratio: a simple option for determining excess central adiposity in young people

Garnett, S. P.; Baur, L. A.; Cowell, C. T.
June 2008
International Journal of Obesity;Jun2008, Vol. 32 Issue 6, p1028
Academic Journal
Waist circumference is recommended as a means of identifying people at risk of morbidity associated with central adiposity. Yet, there are no universally agreed cut-points to determine when a waist circumference is too large in young people. In this study we examined the relation between sex- and age-specific waist circumference cut-points, the waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) cut-point of <0.5 and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk clustering in 164 young people, mean age 14.9±0.2 years (mean±s.d.). In total 19 (11.6%) of the sample were identified as having CVD risk clustering. These young people were significantly (P<0.001) heavier and had higher body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference z-scores compared to those without CVD risk clustering. The WHtR cut-point of 0.5 estimated CVD risk clustering to a similar extent to sex- and age-adjusted cut-points for waist circumference and BMI. Young people with excess central adiposity (WHtR0.5) were 11 times (OR 11.4, P<0.001), more likely to have CVD risk clustering compared to those who did not have excess central adiposity. The WHtR has several advantages; it is easy to calculate, does not require sex- and age-specific centiles and as has been previously suggested, it is a simple message, easily understood by clinicians and families, to ‘keep your waist circumference to less than half your height’.International Journal of Obesity (2008) 32, 1028–1030; doi:10.1038/ijo.2008.51; published online 15 April 2008


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