Waist circumference measurement site does not affect relationships with visceral adiposity and cardiometabolic risk factors in children

Deirdre M. Harrington, Amanda E. Staiano, Stephanie T. Broyles, Alok K. Gupta, Peter T. Katzmarzyk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Different waist circumference (WC) measurement sites are used in clinical and epidemiological settings. Objectives: To examine differences in WC measurement at four anatomic sites and how each WC measurement relates to visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and cardiometabolic risk factors in children. Methods: A total of 371 white and African-American children aged 5 to 18 years had WC measured at four sites: minimal waist, midpoint between the iliac crest and the lowest rib, superior border of the iliac crest and the umbilicus. Abdominal VAT was measured using magnetic resonance imaging and cardiometabolic risk factors were defined using National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute guidelines. Relationships between WC sites and VAT and risk factors were explored in each race-by-sex group. Results: All WC sites were highly correlated (r = 0.97 to 0.99). Differences in absolute mean WC values existed in all race-by-sex groups, and this affected the prevalence of high WC (≥90th percentile). Values were lowest for minimal waist and highest for umbilicus. Age-controlled partial correlations between WC and logVAT VAT were 0.81-0.89 (all P P < 0.001) and between WC and cardiometabolic risk factors were −0.24 to ‐0.41 and 0.19 to 0.52 (all P < 0.05). Conclusions While the absolute values of WC at four anatomic locations differed, the relationships between WC values and both VAT and cardiometabolic risk factors were similar within all race‐by‐sex groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-206
Number of pages8
JournalPediatr. Obes.
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2013


  • abdominal adiposity
  • anthropometry
  • cardiometabolic risk factors
  • waist circumference
  • abdominal obesity
  • adolescent
  • adult
  • African American
  • article
  • body mass
  • cardiometabolic risk
  • child
  • European American
  • female
  • human
  • intraabdominal fat
  • major clinical study
  • male
  • nuclear magnetic resonance imaging
  • preschool child
  • priority journal
  • school child

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