Waist-to-height ratio, waist circumference, and body mass index as indices of cardiometabolic risk among 36,642 Taiwanese adults

Eur J Nutr. 2013 Feb;52(1):57-65. doi: 10.1007/s00394-011-0286-0. Epub 2011 Dec 11.


Purpose: We aimed to investigate the association of body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) with cardiometabolic risk.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 21,038 men and 15,604 women who participated in a health check-up were included.

Results: In both men and women, the area under the curve (AUC) of WHtR was significantly greater than that of BMI or WC in the prediction of diabetes, hypertension, high total cholesterol, high triglycerides, and low HDL-cholesterol (P < 0.05 for all). The AUC for WHtR in the prediction of metabolic syndrome (MS) was also highest in the women (P < 0.05). After adjustment for potential confounders, the odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for MS for each standard deviation increase in BMI, WHtR, and WC were 1.47 (1.46-1.49), 1.32 (1.31-1.33), and 1.19 (1.18-1.19), respectively. Finally, patients of either sex with a normal BMI or WC level, but with an elevated WHtR, had higher levels of various cardiometabolic risk factors in comparison with their normal BMI or WC, but low WHtR, counterparts (P < 0.05 for all).

Conclusion: Among Taiwanese adults, a WHtR greater than 0.5 is a simple, yet effective indicator of centralized obesity and associated cardiometabolic risk, even among individuals deemed 'healthy' according to BMI and WC.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Area Under Curve
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Height*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Body Weight*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Taiwan / epidemiology
  • Waist Circumference*