The relation of body mass index and abdominal adiposity with dyslipidemia in 27 general populations of the WHO MONICA Project

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2013 May;23(5):432-42. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2011.09.002. Epub 2011 Dec 30.


Background and aims: The association between adiposity measures and dyslipidemia has seldom been assessed in a multipopulational setting.

Methods and results: 27 populations from Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada (WHO MONICA project) using health surveys conducted between 1990 and 1997 in adults aged 35-64 years (n = 40,480). Dyslipidemia was defined as the total/HDL cholesterol ratio >6 (men) and >5 (women). Overall prevalence of dyslipidemia was 25% in men and 23% in women. Logistic regression showed that dyslipidemia was strongly associated with body mass index (BMI) in men and with waist circumference (WC) in women, after adjusting for region, age and smoking. Among normal-weight men and women (BMI<25 kg/m(2)), an increase in the odds for being dyslipidemic was observed between lowest and highest WC quartiles (OR = 3.6, p < 0.001). Among obese men (BMI ≥ 30), the corresponding increase was smaller (OR = 1.2, p = 0.036). A similar weakening was observed among women. Classification tree analysis was performed to assign subjects into classes of risk for dyslipidemia. BMI thresholds (25.4 and 29.2 kg/m(2)) in men and WC thresholds (81.7 and 92.6 cm) in women came out at first stages. High WC (>84.8 cm) in normal-weight men, menopause in women and regular smoking further defined subgroups at increased risk.

Conclusion: standard categories of BMI and WC, or their combinations, do not lead to optimal risk stratification for dyslipidemia in middle-age adults. Sex-specific adaptations are necessary, in particular by taking into account abdominal obesity in normal-weight men, post-menopausal age in women and regular smoking in both sexes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity*
  • Adult
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dyslipidemias / complications
  • Dyslipidemias / epidemiology*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Menopause / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Obesity, Abdominal / complications
  • Obesity, Abdominal / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Waist Circumference


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Triglycerides