Background: Aggregation of metabolic risk factors-i.e., elevated plasma triglyceride (TG), reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), elevated blood pressure, and raised plasma glucose-convey increased risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Methods: This study was carried out to determine the association of waist girth, ethnicity, and gender with susceptibility for metabolic risk. Included were 1671 adult women (50.7% black) and 1339 men (46.5% black) enrolled in the Dallas Heart Study. Subjects were stratified into three categories by waist girth-low, intermediate, and high, corresponding to BMI ranges of <25 kg/m(2), 25-29.9 kg/m(2), and ≥30 kg/m(2).
Results: Risk factor prevalence rose progressively through each waist-girth category. However, even among those with high waist-girth, prevalence of three or more risk factors was less than 50%. Several differences among the ethnic groups were noted; for example, Hispanic men had a higher prevalence of elevated TG compared to whites; black men, on the other hand, had a lower frequency of high TG. There were also fewer black men with low HDL-C than in the other groups. Black and Hispanic men had a higher prevalence of elevated glucose and updated homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA2-IR) than whites. More black men had elevated blood pressure than other groups. These differences were less pronounced among ethnic groups of women.
Conclusion: Although ethnic and gender differences in risk factor prevalence may exist, it is notable that the majority of subjects, even when obese, did not have elevated risk factors. This finding points to the need to focus largely on subjects with metabolic risk factors when implementing therapeutic interventions.