Body mass index, sex, and cardiovascular disease risk factors among Hispanic/Latino adults: Hispanic community health study/study of Latinos

J Am Heart Assoc. 2014 Jul 9;3(4):e000923. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.114.000923.


Background: All major Hispanic/Latino groups in the United States have a high prevalence of obesity, which is often severe. Little is known about cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors among those at very high levels of body mass index (BMI).

Methods and results: Among US Hispanic men (N=6547) and women (N=9797), we described gradients across the range of BMI and age in CVD risk factors including hypertension, serum lipids, diabetes, and C-reactive protein. Sex differences in CVD risk factor prevalences were determined at each level of BMI, after adjustment for age and other demographic and socioeconomic variables. Among those with class II or III obesity (BMI ≥35 kg/m(2), 18% women and 12% men), prevalences of hypertension, diabetes, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, and high C-reactive protein level approached or exceeded 40% during the fourth decade of life. While women had a higher prevalence of class III obesity (BMI ≥40 kg/m(2)) than did men (7% and 4%, respectively), within this highest BMI category there was a >50% greater relative prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia in men versus women, while sex differences in prevalence of these CVD risk factors were ≈20% or less at other BMI levels.

Conclusions: Elevated BMI is common in Hispanic/Latino adults and is associated with a considerable excess of CVD risk factors. At the highest BMI levels, CVD risk factors often emerge in the earliest decades of adulthood and they affect men more often than women.

Keywords: BMI; CVD risk factor; Hispanic/Latino; sex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Dyslipidemias / blood
  • Dyslipidemias / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Triglycerides
  • C-Reactive Protein