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Endocrine. 2012 Oct;42(2):335-42. Epub 2012 Mar 11.

Determining cut-off values for neck circumference as a measure of the metabolic syndrome amongst a South African cohort: the SABPA study.

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Physical Activity Sport and Recreation (PhASRec), School of Biokinetics, Recreation and Sport Science, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, Potchefstroom, South Africa.


The aim was to determine receiver operating characteristic (ROC) neck circumference (NC) cut offs best associated with the metabolic syndrome (MetS) in a South African cohort. We included 409 urban Africans and Caucasians and stratified them into gender and age groups (25-45 years; 45-65 years). Measurements included anthropometric, fasting overnight urine and biological markers for the MetS (systolic and diastolic blood pressure, glucose, triglycerides, and high density lipoprotein). ROC analysis determined pathological (NC) cut-points of 39 and 35 cm for young and older African men; 32 and 35 cm for young and old African women; 40 and 41 cm for Caucasian men; 34 and 33 cm for Caucasian women. Pathological NC cut-points significantly predicted MetS in all ethnic-gender-age groups except in African women (ORs 2.3-5.4; 95% CI 1.36-16.5). Multiple regression analyses revealed that MetS prevalence and ROC cut-points were not associated with renal impairment in any groups. ROC NC cut-points demonstrated that NC may be used as an additional anthropometric marker to predict the MetS in a South African cohort but not in African women.

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