Obesity and cardiovascular disease risk among Africans residing in Europe and Africa: the RODAM study

Obes Res Clin Pract. Mar-Apr 2020;14(2):151-157. doi: 10.1016/j.orcp.2020.01.007. Epub 2020 Feb 12.


Background: The association between anthropometric variables and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk among Africans is unclear. We examined the discriminative ability of anthropometric variables and estimate cutoffs for predicting CVD risk among Africans.

Methods: The Research on Obesity and Diabetes among African Migrants (RODAM) study was a multisite cross-sectional study of Africans in Ghana and Europe. We calculated AHA/ACC Pooled Cohort Equations (PCE) scores for 3661 participants to ascertain CVD risk, and compared a body shape index (ABSI), body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), Relative Fat Mass (RFM), and Waist to Height Ratio (WHtR). Logistic regression and receiver operating curve analyses were performed to derive cutoffs for identifying high predicted CVD risk (PCE score ≥7.5%).

Results: Among men, WC (adjusted Odds Ratio (aOR): 2.25, 95% CI; 1:50-3:37) was strongly associated with CVD risk. Among women, WC (aOR: 1.69, 95% CI: 1:33-2:14) also displayed the strongest association with CVD risk in the BMI-adjusted model but WHR displayed the strongest fit. All variables were superior discriminators of high CVD risk in men (c-statistic range: 0.887-0.891) than women (c-statistic range: 0.677-0.707). The optimal WC cutoff for identifying participants at high CVD risk was 89 cm among men and identified the most cases (64%). Among women, the recommended WC cutoff of 94 cm or WHR cutoff of 0.90 identified the most cases (92%).

Conclusions: Anthropometric variables were stronger discriminators of high CVD risk in African men than women. Greater WC was associated with high CVD risk in men while WHR and WC were associated with high CVD risk in women.

Keywords: Adiposity; Cardiovascular diseases; Emigrants and immigrants; Ethnic groups; Obesity; Risk factors; Sub-Saharan Africa.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue
  • Anthropometry*
  • Blacks / statistics & numerical data*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / ethnology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Ghana
  • Heart Disease Risk Factors
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / ethnology*
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • ROC Curve
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Assessment / ethnology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Waist Circumference
  • Waist-Hip Ratio