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Public Health Nutr. 2009 Aug;12(8):1061-71. doi: 10.1017/S1368980008003601. Epub 2008 Sep 9.

Association between obesity indices and blood pressure or hypertension: which index is the best?

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Cardiovascular Center, Beijing Tongren Hospital, Affiliate of Capital Medical University, Dongjiaominxiang #1, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100730, People's Republic of China.



The association between obesity and blood pressure is well documented and a series of obesity indices are used as risk factors or indicators of blood pressure and/or the presence of hypertension.


The aim of the present study was to explore and determine which obesity index is the best indicator of blood pressure and the presence of hypertension among five frequently used simple anthropometric indices.


Subjects (n 29 079) were selected by cluster sampling from fourteen Chinese general populations. Weight, height, waist circumference (WC), hip circumference and blood pressure were measured for each participant. BMI, waist:hip ratio (WHR), waist:stature ratio (WSR) and conicity index (CI) were calculated. Pearson correlation, multiple logistic regression, multivariate linear regression and receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve analyses were used.


A total of 13 558 men and 15 521 women were investigated. All five obesity indices were positively correlated with blood pressures and hypertension. After adjusting for age, WSR in men and BMI in women had the greatest association with the presence of hypertension, irrespective of the statistical method used. BMI had the strongest correlation with continuous blood pressures in both genders.


The present results indicate that hypertension is associated with different obesity indices in men and in women. The best indicator for hypertension is WSR in men while it is BMI in women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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