• fat distribution;
  • hip circumference;
  • epidemiology;
  • cardiovascular disease;
  • coronary heart disease


Objective: It has recently been demonstrated that, in middle-aged women, a wide hip circumference is a protective factor for a number of health endpoints in later years. The effect seems to be independent of both overweight and waist circumference. This paper aims to replicate this finding in another population-based sample consisting of women and men.

Research Methods and Procedures: This was a prospective observational study consisting of a random subset of adult Danes. A total of 2987 subjects born in 1922, 1932, 1942, or 1952 and 35, 45, 55, or 65 years of age (at examination in 1987 to 1988) participated in the Danish MONICA (MONItoring trends and determinants of CArdiovascular disease) project, with measurements of height, weight, and hip and waist circumference taken. Through personal identification numbers, incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) until the end of 1998 and all causes of death until 2001 were retrieved from the National Registers of Hospital Discharge. There was an average of 10 years of follow-up for incidence of CVD and CHD and 13 years of follow-up for total mortality.

Results: Large hip circumference, relative to body size and waist circumference, predicted less incidence of CVD, CHD, and total death in women. This was not the case in men; BMI and waist circumference were the strongest independent predictors.

Discussion: A large hip circumference seems to have independent and positive effects on CVD and CHD morbidity and mortality in women, but no protective effect on cardiovascular health in men. However, a borderline significant protective effect on total mortality was observed.