Neck circumference as a measure of central obesity: associations with metabolic syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome beyond waist circumference

Clin Nutr. 2009 Feb;28(1):46-51. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2008.10.006. Epub 2008 Nov 17.


Background & aims: To investigate the relationship of neck circumference (NC) to metabolic syndrome (MetS) and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) and whether it adds information to that provided by waist circumference.

Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of a population sample of 1,912 men and women, aged 55.1 +/- 12 years, representative of Turkish adults. MetS was identified based on modified criteria of the ATP-III, OSAS when habitual snoring and episodes of apnea were combined with another relevant symptom.

Results: NC measured 36.7 (+/- 3.5) cm in the total sample. It was significantly correlated with numerous risk factors, above all body mass index and waist girth (r > or = 0.6), homeostatic model-assessed insulin resistance, blood pressure and, inversely, with smoking status and sex hormone-binding globulin. Sex- and age-adjusted NC was associated significantly with MetS, at a 2-3-fold increased likelihood for 1 standard deviation (SD) increment. After further adjustment for waist circumference and smoking status, a significant residual odds ratio (OR, 1.13 [95% CI 1.08; 1.19]) persisted, corresponding to ORs of 1.53 and 1.27 in males and females, respectively, for 1 SD increment. Even when adjusted for all MetS components, a residual OR (1.08 [95% CI 1.000; 1.17]) remained. Sex- and age-adjusted NC was associated significantly also with OSAS in genders combined, independent of waist girth, yielding an added OR of 1.3 for 1 SD increment.

Conclusions: NC contributes to MetS likelihood beyond waist circumference and the MetS components. Regarding association with OSAS, NC is of greater value than WC among Turkish men, not women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Comorbidity
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck / anatomy & histology*
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / epidemiology*
  • Smoking
  • Turkey / epidemiology
  • Waist Circumference*