Waist Circumference May Not Be Associated With Cardiometabolic Factors

Gerard Ngueta Population Health and Optimal Health Practices Research Unit, CHU de Québec Research Centre, Québec Québec, CanadaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Gerard Ngueta
Population Health and Optimal Health Practices Research Unit,
CHU de Québec Research Centre, Québec
Québec, Canada

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: The main findings of our study are as follows :

1- Contrary to body mass index (BMI), the waist circumference alone (which indicate central obesity or fat distribution) is not associated with cardiometabolic factors under study (i.e., insulin, triglycerides, systolic blood pressure and high-density lipoproteins levels). Thus, the apparent association –as found in previous studies- appears to be mediated through overall obesity (i.e., BMI). In the other words, the association observed in the previous studies between waist circumference and the cardiometabolic risk factors cited above could be mainly due to the strong correlation between waist circumference and BMI.

2- It is possible to estimate the independent contribution of overall fat and central fat on cardiometabolic risk factors by applying the residual model as previously suggested by Willet and Stampfer.

MedicalResearch: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Answer: Findings as reported were expected given that waist circumference largely includes BMI (i.e., BMI predicts waist circumference) and not the opposite.

MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Answer: The overall obesity is more important in the Cree and Inuit population, as compared with central obesity. Waist circumference management without targeting overall obesity would be less efficient to decrease the risk of cardiometabolic events, regardless of sex and age. Study participants were aboriginal, with high prevalence of obesity. Thus, our conclusion may be limited to similar populations.

MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Answer: Further studies should be focused on other ethnicities and group of individuals (e.g., elderly, athletes,…) to confirm the relevance of residual waist approach.


Does waist circumference uncorrelated with BMI add valuable information?

Gerard Ngueta, Elhadji A Laouan-Sidi, Michel Lucas

J Epidemiol Community Health jech-2014-204005Published Online First: 10 June 2014 doi:10.1136/jech-2014-204005


Last Updated on June 18, 2014 by Marie Benz MD FAAD