Shalini D/O Ponnalagu, Xinyan Bi, Christiani Jeyakumar Henry, Is waist circumference more strongly associated with metabolic risk factors than waist-to-height ratio in Asians?, Nutrition, Volume 60, 2019, Pages 30-34, ISSN 0899-9007, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2018.09.005.
Differential distribution of fats can vary among ethnic groups and thus have varying effects on metabolic risk. Measuring metabolic risk of individuals using simple anthropometric measurements is essential to replace current invasive methods of obtaining blood samples. Waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) has been advocated as the best simple anthropometric measurement, but, because of the high visceral fat of Asians, there has been speculation as to the possibility of using only waist circumference (WC) to measure metabolic risk. The aim of this study was to compare the performance of WC and WHtR in terms of their association with measures of obesity and metabolic risk factors (e.g., homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance, low-density lipoprotein, triacylglycerol, and ratio of triacylglycerol to high-density lipoprotein) and to obtain an optimal cutoff value for one anthropometric measurement.
The study was performed on healthy Asian Chinese (N = 527) men (n = 209) and women (n = 318) who participated in a cross-sectional study conducted at the Clinical Nutrition Research Centre located in Singapore. Association of WC and WHtR with metabolic risk factors was obtained using Spearman's rank correlation coefficient. Optimal cutoff value was obtained using receiver operating characteristic curve.
WC and WHtR performed equally well in both sexes in terms of their strength of association between metabolic risk factors. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis showed that 73.5 cm (in women) and 82.5 cm (in men) were the optimal WC cutoff values to identify insulin resistance.
It is suggested that WC is a simpler anthropometric measurement that has strong association with an individual's metabolic risk level.