Association between body adiposity index and coronary risk in the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil)

Clin Nutr. 2020 May;39(5):1423-1431. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2019.06.001. Epub 2019 Jun 13.


Background & aims: The body adiposity index (BAI) was recently proposed as a better indicator of body adiposity than body mass index in adults. The association between BAI and cardiometabolic risk factors has been widely investigated. However, the strength and magnitude of these associations varied as a function of the endpoint evaluated, the study design, the population investigated, and the cut-off points used. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between BAI and coronary heart disease (CHD) risk in a large sample of Brazilian adults and to propose the most appropriate cut-off points for BAI for the identification of CHD risk in the adult Brazilian population.

Methods: Data from 15,092 civil servants (54.4% women) from universities and research institutes in six Brazilian states were evaluated in the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil). All were aged 35-74 years at baseline. The Framingham coronary risk score was used to identify a very high risk of CHD (≥20% risk of CHD over the next 10 years) and a high risk of CHD (≥10% risk). BAI cut-off points capable of detecting a risk of CHD were determined using ROC curves and associations were tested using Poisson regression with robust variance, according to sex and age. Three multivariable models were examined.

Results: BAI remained positively associated with a very high and high risk of CHD following adjustment for potential confounding factors in all the strata and multivariable models (p < 0.05), with the exception of model 3 (adjusted for education level and waist-to-hip ratio) for very a high risk of CHD in younger women (p = 0.06). In the adjusted models, the prevalence ratios for a very high and high risk of CHD, irrespective of age group, varied between 1.23 (95%CI: 1.09-1.39) and 1.64 (1.33-2.03) and 1.07 (1.03-1.12) and 1.47 (1.36-1.60) in men; and 1.57 (1.08-2.31) and 2.42 (1.36-4.31) and 1.29 (1.13-1.47) and 1.82 (1.54-2.15) in women, respectively. The optimal cut-off points of BAI to determine a risk of CHD were: 28.0 in men of both age groups, and 34.0 in younger women and 36.0 in older women to determine a very high risk; and 26.0 in younger men and 34.0 in women of both age groups to determine a high risk. BAI showed a reasonable ability to predict coronary risk in participants of the ELSA-Brasil (AUC>60%, except for the group of men of 60-74 years of age).

Conclusions: Higher BAI levels were found to be associated with a greater risk of developing CHD in both men and women of different ages participating in the ELSA-Brasil, suggesting that BAI may be a useful tool for screening for CHD risk in Brazilian adults.

Keywords: Anthropometry; Body adiposity index; Epidemiological study; Obesity; Risk factors.

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors