Waist circumference and waist-to-height ratio as predictors of cardiovascular disease risk in Korean adults

Circ J. 2009 Sep;73(9):1643-50. doi: 10.1253/circj.cj-09-0161. Epub 2009 Jul 29.


Background: Obesity is associated with diabetes mellitus, hypertension, dyslipidemia and increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Anthropometric indices, such body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR), were evaluated as predictors of the presence of CVD risk factors in Korean adults.

Methods and results: The data were obtained from the Third Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES III, 2005). The study contained a nationally representative sample of Korean adults (2,327 men, 3,102 women) aged 20 years or older. The area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve for WHtR was higher than that for WC or BMI with respect to diabetes mellitus and hypertension in both men and women, whereas WC was a better predictor for low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in men. The WHtR cut-off value to predict diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and dyslipidemia was approximately 0.50 in men and 0.51 in women. The WC cut-offs varied from 81.6 to 85.2 cm in men and from 78.1 to 81.9 cm in women. The optimal BMI cut-off point varied from 23.0 to 24.7 kg/m(2) in both men and women.

Conclusions: WC or WHtR may be a better predictor of CVD risk factors than BMI in Korean adults.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / ethnology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / ethnology
  • Dyslipidemias / complications
  • Dyslipidemias / ethnology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / ethnology
  • Korea / epidemiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / ethnology*
  • Odds Ratio
  • ROC Curve
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Waist Circumference / ethnology*
  • Waist-Hip Ratio*