Saturday, July 24, 2021

Waist Circumference and Waist-To-Height Ratio for Determining Diabetes Risk

BMI is probably the most commonly used obesity related measurement. However, BMI is not necessarily the best measurement for abdominal obesity. And BMI is not the best predictor of cardiometabolic risks, such as diabetes. Anthropomorphic measurements involving waist are better indicators of these risks in many cases. These measurements include waist circumference (WC), waist-to hip ratio (WHR), and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR).

Two reasons why BMI is the measurement used most often for obesity are its ease of calculation (Weight in Kilograms/(Height in Meters2 ) and the U.S. government's recommendation that the measurement be used by physicians. The "government guidelines urge physicians to screen all adult patients for obesity, and offer health and lifestyle counseling for those with a high body mass index (BMI)."

However, a recent study shows that WC and WHtR are better measurements for predicting diabetes risk than BMI. The study was done in China, and consisted of 4052 adult  participants, who were at least 40 years of age. Sixty-seven percent of the participants were women.

The researchers used face-to-face interviews or physical examinations to obtain the data. The researchers found that the risk of diabetes increased with the age of the participants and when related family members had had diabetes. Also, the risk of diabetes was less in those participants with a college degree or more. The researchers also found that WC and WHtR were more closely related to diabetes, and, therefore, better predictors of the disease.

It should be noted that investigators in one study did find that WHtR was a more useful measurement in Asians than in non-Asians. Still, the investigators indicated that their study results supported "the use of WHtR in identifying adults at increased cardiometabolic risk."

Physicians and other healthcare providers might want to consider using WC and WHtR, as well as BMI, as part of patient assessment tools. Including WC and WHtR in their set of patient assessment tools could give providers more insight into unhealthy cardiometabolic conditions like diabetes.  Using these measurements could help providers deliver better care to the patient.


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