Waist Circumference a Better CVD Forecaster Than BMI

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The circumference of your waist better forecasts the likelihood of cardiovascular disease (CVD) factors than your body mass index (BMI) does, according to Columbia University researchers.

The study divided 9,019 male and female Caucasian participants into two groups according to the presence of obesity-associated risk factors: low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood-glucose levels.

The cutoff values for CVD risk were a waist circumference of 35 inches for men and 33 inches for women. To minimize CVD risk, the researchers recommend advising patients with waist circumferences at these thresholds to lose weight.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, October 2002

Clinical adviser’s note: The August 2002 recommendations of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) also included waist circumference measure as a risk factor for Insulin Resistance Syndrome, which is closely linked to cardiovascular disease. The AACE guidelines differ from the research report described here, citing increased risk with a waist circumference greater than 40 inches in men and greater than 35 inches in women.

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