Waist circumference cutoff points and action levels for Asian Indians for identification of abdominal obesity

Int J Obes (Lond). 2006 Jan;30(1):106-11. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803111.


Objective: To test the validity of internationally accepted waist circumference (WC) action levels for adult Asian Indians.

Design: Analysis of data from multisite cross-sectional epidemiological studies in north India.

Subjects: In all, 2050 adult subjects >18 years of age (883 male and 1167 female subjects).

Measurements: Body mass index (BMI), WC, waist-to-hip circumference ratio, blood pressure, and fasting samples for blood glucose, total cholesterol, serum triglycerides, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

Results: In male subjects, a WC cutoff point of 78 cm (sensitivity 74.3%, specificity 68.0%), and in female subjects, a cutoff point of 72 cm (sensitivity 68.7%, specificity 71.8%) were appropriate in identifying those with at least one cardiovascular risk factor and for identifying those with a BMI >21 kg/m(2). WC levels of > or =90 and > or =80 cm for men and women, respectively, identified high odds ratio for cardiovascular risk factor(s) and BMI level of > or =25 kg/m(2). The current internationally accepted WC cutoff points (102 cm in men and 88 cm in women) showed lower sensitivity and lower correct classification as compared to the WC cutoff points generated in the present study.

Conclusion: We propose the following WC action levels for adult Asian Indians: action level 1: men, > or =78 cm, women, >/=72 cm; and action level 2: men, > or =90 cm, women, > or =80 cm.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / pathology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anthropometry / methods
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / diagnosis*
  • Obesity / ethnology*
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Waist-Hip Ratio*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol