Anthropometric correlates of total body fat, abdominal adiposity, and cardiovascular disease risk factors in a biracial sample of men and women

Tiago V. Barreira, Amanda E. Staiano, Deirdre M. Harrington, Steven B. Heymsfield, Steven R. Smith, Claude Bouchard, Peter T. Katzmarzyk

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Objective: To investigate associations between anthropometric measurements and total body fat, abdominal adipose tissue, and cardiovascular disease risk factors in a large biracial sample. Patients and Methods: This study is limited to cross-sectional analyses of data from participants attending a baseline visit between January 26, 1996, and February 1, 2011. The sample included 2037 individuals aged 18 to 69 years:488 African American women (24%), 686 white women (34%), 196 African American men (9%), and 667 white men (33%). Anthropometry included weight; hip circumference; waist circumference; waist-hip, waist-height, and weightheight ratios; body adiposity index; and body mass index. Body fat and percentage of fat were measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, and abdominal visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue were measured by computed tomography. Bivariate correlations, logistic regression models, and receiver operator characteristic curves were used, and analyses were stratified by sex and race. Results: In each sex-by-race group, all anthropometric measures were highly correlated with percentage of fat, fat mass, and subcutaneous adipose tissue and moderately correlated with visceral adipose tissue, with the exception of the waist-hip ratio. The odds of having an elevated cardiometabolic risk were increased more than 2-fold per SD increase for most anthropometric variables, and the areas under the curve for each anthropometric measure were significantly greater than 0.5. Conclusion: Several common anthropometric measures were moderately to highly correlated with total body fat, abdominal fat, and cardiovascular disease risk factors in a biracial sample of women and men. This comprehensive analysis provides evidence of the linkage between simple anthropometric measurements and the purported pathways between adiposity and health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-460
Number of pages9
JournalMayo Clinic Proceedings
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2012


  • abdominal obesity
  • adult
  • aged
  • anthropometry
  • body fat
  • body fat distribution
  • body height
  • body mass
  • body weight
  • cardiovascular risk
  • computer assisted tomography
  • conference paper
  • controlled study
  • cross-sectional study
  • disease association
  • dual energy X ray absorptiometry
  • evidence based medicine
  • female
  • human
  • intraabdominal fat
  • major clinical study
  • male
  • subcutaneous fat
  • waist circumference
  • waist hip ratio

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