Background: The association of central adiposity with incident heart failure (HF) has yet to be studied in a large population-based study.
Methods and results: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study is an ongoing biracial population-based cohort of those aged 45 to 64 years from 4 US communities with 16 years' median follow-up for incident, hospitalized, or fatal HF. Waist-hip ratio, waist circumference, and body mass index (BMI) were measured at baseline (1987-1989). After exclusions, the sample size was 14 641. BMI was categorized as <25, 25 to 29.9, and >or=30 kg/m(2). Waist circumference and waist-hip ratio were divided into gender-specific tertiles. A first occurrence of International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification, codes of HF, either hospital discharge (428.0 to 428.9; n=1451) or on a death certificate (428.0 to 428.9 or I50.0 to I50.9; n=77) was considered an HF event. Cox models were adjusted for alcohol use, smoking, age, center, and educational level. The adjusted hazard ratios for the highest category (obese) compared with the lowest were well above 1.0 for all 3 anthropometric measures (hazard ratio for 3rd versus 1st tertile of waist-hip ratio: 2.27 [1.71, 3.02] for white women; 3.24 [2.25, 4.65] for black women; 2.46 [1.95, 3.09] for white men; and 2.63 [1.90, 3.65] for black men). Hazard ratios for overweight were lower in magnitude, suggesting a graded response between body size and HF.
Conclusions: Obesity and overweight, as measured by 3 different anthropometrics, were associated with incident HF in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities cohort. The current study does not support the superiority of waist-hip ratio and waist circumference over BMI for the prediction of incident HF.