Optimal cut-off values and population means of waist circumference in different populations

Wang, Zhiqiang, Ma, Jun and Si, Damin (2010) Optimal cut-off values and population means of waist circumference in different populations. Nutrition Research Reviews, 23 2: 191-199. doi:10.1017/S0954422410000120

Author Wang, Zhiqiang
Ma, Jun
Si, Damin
Title Optimal cut-off values and population means of waist circumference in different populations
Journal name Nutrition Research Reviews   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0954-4224
Publication date 2010-12-01
Year available 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1017/S0954422410000120
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 23
Issue 2
Start page 191
End page 199
Total pages 9
Place of publication Cambridge, United Kingdom
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Language eng
Subject 2701 Medicine (miscellaneous)
2916 Nutrition and Dietetics
Abstract Abdominal obesity is a risk factor for cardiometabolic disease, and has become a major public health problem in the world. Waist circumference is generally used as a simple surrogate marker to define abdominal obesity for population screening. An increasing number of publications solely rely on the method that maximises sensitivity and specificity to define ‘optimal’ cut-off values. It is well documented that the optimal cut-off values of waist circumference vary across different ethnicities. However, it is not clear if the variation in cut-off values is a true biological phenomenon or an artifact of the method for identifying optimal cut-off points. The objective of the present review was to assess the relationship between optimal cut-offs and population waist circumference levels. Among sixty-one research papers, optimal cut-off values ranged from 65·5 to 101·2 cm for women and 72·5 to 103·0 cm for men. Reported optimal cut-off values were highly correlated with population means (correlation coefficient: 0·91 for men and 0·93 for women). Such a strong association was independent of waist circumference measurement techniques or the health outcomes (dyslipidaemia, hypertension or hyperglycaemia), and existed in some homogeneous populations such as the Chinese and Japanese. Our findings raised some concerns about applying the sensitivity and specificity approach to determine cut-off values. Further research is needed to understand whether the differences among populations in waist circumference were genetically or environmentally determined, and to understand whether using region-specific cut-off points can identify individuals with the same absolute risk levels of metabolic and cardiovascular outcomes among different populations. © 2010 The Authors.
Keyword Waist circumference
Optimal cut-off points
Abdominal obesity
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID 511013
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Created: Sun, 28 Nov 2010, 23:14:17 EST by Zhiqiang Wang on behalf of School of Medicine