A comparative evaluation of waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio and body mass index as indicators of cardiovascular risk factors. The Canadian Heart Health Surveys

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2001 May;25(5):652-61. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0801582.


Objective: To comparatively evaluate cut-off points of waist circumference, body mass index and waist to hip ratio with respect to their ability to predict other individual and multiple cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Design: Population-based, cross-sectional surveys.

Subjects: A total of 9913 men and women aged 18-74, selected using health insurance registries from five Canadian provinces.

Measurements: Anthropometric measures, other cardiovascular risk factors, receiver operating characteristic curves, sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values.

Results: : Waist circumference may be the best single indicator of other individual and multiple cardiovascular risk factors. Optimal cut-off points of all anthropometric measures are dependent on age, sex and the prevalence of the risk factor(s) being considered. For waist circumference, cut-off points of > or =90 cm in men and > or =80 cm in women may be most appropriate for prediction of individual and multiple risk factors in Caucasian populations.

Conclusion: Health professionals should incorporate the use of waist circumference measurements in their routine clinical examination of adult patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Constitution*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors