Anthropometric measures in relation to risk of heart failure hospitalization: a Swedish population-based cohort study

Eur J Public Health. 2014 Apr;24(2):215-20. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/cks161. Epub 2012 Nov 26.


Background: It is unclear which anthropometric measure is most useful for assessment of the cardiovascular risk. We investigated the association between different anthropometric measures and risk of heart failure (HF) hospitalization.

Methods: BMI, waist-hip ratio (WHR), waist circumference (WC), body fat percentage (BF%), weight and height were measured among 26,653 subjects (aged 45-73 years) without history of myocardial infarction (MI), stroke or HF from the Malmö Diet and Cancer cohort at baseline in 1991-96. Incidence of HF hospitalizations was monitored during a mean follow-up of 15 years.

Results: Seven hundred and twenty-seven subjects were hospitalized with HF as primary diagnosis, of whom 157 had an MI before or concurrent with the HF. After adjustment for potential confounding factors, the hazard ratios of HF hospitalization (fourth vs. first sex-specific quartile) were 1.80 (95% CI: 1.45-2.24) for BMI, 1.87 (1.50-2.34) for WC, 1.77 (1.43-2.19) for WHR, 1.35 (1.09-1.68) for BF%, 1.93 (1.57-2.39) for weight and 1.18 (0.96-1.44) for height. Significant interactions between BMI and WC and WHR, respectively, were observed, and the joint exposure of high BMI and high WC or high WHR further increased the risk. The results were similar in secondary analyses, i.e., excluding incident HF with previous MI during the follow-up.

Conclusion: Our results support the view that raised BMI, WC, WHR or BF% increases the risk of HF hospitalization. The joint exposure of high BMI and high WHR or high WC further increased the risk in an additive way.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anthropometry*
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Heart Failure / epidemiology*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology