• Body mass index;
  • cardiovascular disease;
  • cut-off;
  • waist circumference;
  • waist-to-height ratio;
  • waist-to-hip ratio

Eur J Clin Invest 2011; 41 (4): 393–404


Background  Obesity increases the risks of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). This study examined the optimal cut-off values for overweight and obesity for CVD risks using different anthropometric indices in middle-aged Taiwanese.

Materials and methods  A total of 2359 subjects aged 40 and over were recruited in 2004 in Taiwan. Body mass index (BMI) was divided into four groups using three different definitions. Waist circumference (WC), waist-to-hip ratio (WC/HC) and waist-to-height ratio (WC/H) were divided into quartiles. The receiver operating characteristic analysis was used to compare their predictive validity and to find out their optimal cut-off values.

Results  Men were older and had greater height, weight, BMI, WC, WC/HC, WC/H, blood pressure (BP), fasting glucose, uric acid and triglycerides than women. In all BMI definitions, subjects in higher BMI groups had higher BP, fasting glucose, triglycerides, uric acid and WC than subjects in lower BMI groups. Compared to quartile I of WC, WC/HC and WC/H, the odds ratios of having CVD risk factors increased in higher quartiles of WC, WC/HC and WC/H. The optimal cut-off values for overweight/obesity in middle-aged Taiwanese in men and women were as follows: BMI of 23·7 and 22·4 kg m−2, WC of 82·5 and 72·5 cm, WC/HC of 0·87 and 0·79 and WC/H of 0·50 and 0·46. WC/H is the best indicator for predicting CVD risks.

Conclusions  Obesity, presenting with higher BMI, WC, WC/HC and WC/H, is closely related to CVD risk factors. WC/H is the best predictor of CVD risk factors in middle-aged Taiwanese.