Background: The relationships between weight and waist on vascular risk are well described, but the long-term impact of these parameters is less clearly defined, particularly in Chinese populations.
Methods: Ten thousand four hundred and ten older subjects (50-85 years) were recruited and blood pressure, anthropometric, and fasting vascular risk factors measured. Socioeconomic and demographic data, including self-reported weight and waist gain since 18 years. The association of weight and waist gain with these vascular risk factors was analysed.
Results: Weight, and particularly waist gain were associated with a more adverse vascular risk factor profile, with the most adverse profile associated with gains in both weight and waist. Anthropometric gains were associated with increased risk even in non-obese subjects (p<0.05). Even after adjustment for a range of demographic and socioeconomic factors, waist gain was associated with additional risk of having the metabolic syndrome and its components and self-reported vascular disease in those centrally obese subjects (p<0.05 for all).
Conclusion: Increased weight and waist increased the level of vascular risk factors and self-reported disease in both non-obese and obese subjects. The high prevalence of vascular risk factors in this population forewarns of a major developing health burden in the rapidly modernising 1.2 billion Chinese population.