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J Clin Epidemiol. 2002 Oct;55(10):990-6.

Body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) as screening tools for cardiovascular risk factors in Guadeloupean women.

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  • 1Département d'Information Médicale et de Santé Publique, French West Indies, CHU de Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe.


Hypertension, dyslipidemia and type 2 diabetes, important cardiovascular risk factors, are strongly linked to obesity. Body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) are measures of obesity that can be useful in identifying individuals with these risk factors. We assessed which of the two measures is more informative at the population level. The study population included 5,149 consecutive women aged 18 to 74 recruited in an Health Center of Guadeloupe (FWI) in 1999. The areas under the ROC curves of BMI and WC and their 95% CI were computed and compared. Logistic regression analysis of BMI and WC and the areas under the ROC curves in two separate age groups (18-39 years and 40-74 years) showed that age modifies the discriminant ability of these parameters in identifying the CVD risk factors. Sensitivity equalled specificity at levels between 52-70% for BMI and 55-80% for WC. ROC areas for identifying each risk factors by BMI varied from 0.52 to 0.84 and by WC from 0.55 to 0.88. For the identifying of women with at least one CVD risk factor, in the whole population, the areas under the curves for BMI and WC (respectively, 0.71; 95% CI: 0.69-0.73 and 0.76; 95% CI: 0.74-0.78) were both significantly greater than 0.5. The difference between these correlated areas was 0.04, 95% CI [-0.05, -0.03]. The lowest values of the areas were noted in detecting women with dyslipidemia and the highest in detecting those with type 2 diabetes. Waist circumference, a practical tool that had a higher discriminant ability than BMI in identifying presence or absence of all these risk factors, appears as the best screening tool in this population.

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