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Int J Obes (Lond). 2009 Feb;33(2):239-48. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2008.252. Epub 2008 Dec 9.

Abdominal obesity and the spectrum of global cardiometabolic risks in US adults.

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Division of Cardiology, Heart Disease Prevention Program, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA.



To compare the association of obesity and abdominal obesity with cardiometabolic risk factor burden and global estimated coronary heart disease (CHD) risk among multiethnic US adults.


Cross-sectional, survey study.


A total of 4456 participants (representing 194.9 million adults) aged 20-79 years in the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).


Body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) measures, CHD risk factors and a 10-year estimated CHD risk based on Framingham algorithms. Obesity was defined as a BMI >or=30 kg/m(2) and abdominal obesity as a WC >88 cm in women and >102 cm in men. High CHD risk status included diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD) or a 10-year Framingham risk score of >20%.


Overall, abdominal obesity was present in 42.3% of men and 62.5% of women and in 53.6% of whites, 56.9% of blacks and 50.5% of Hispanics (P<0.001 between gender and ethnicity). However, using International Diabetes Federation (IDF)-recommended WC cut points for Hispanics, the prevalence of abdominal obesity was 78.3%. Mean levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), systolic and diastolic blood pressure, fasting glucose and C-reactive protein increased, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) decreased (P<0.001) according to BMI and WC categories, although these associations were attenuated in blacks for blood pressure, LDL-C, HDL-C and triglycerides. Of those with high WC, 25-35% had >or=3 cardiometabolic risk factors. High CHD risk among those with high WC was most common in men (27.9%) and non-Hispanic whites (23.9%). Persons with a high vs normal WC, adjusted for age, gender, ethnicity and BMI were more likely to have >or=3 cardiometabolic risk factors (odds ratio (OR)=5.1, 95% confidence interval (CI)=3.9-6.6) and were classified as high CHD risk (OR=1.5, 95% CI=1.1-2.0).


The association of abdominal obesity with risk factors varies by ethnicity and is independently associated with high CHD risk status, further validating its clinical significance.

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