Neck circumference: a useful screening tool of cardiovascular risk in children


Address for correspondence: Mr Odysseas Androutsos, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Harokopio University, 70, El. Venizelou Ave., 176 71 Kallithea, Athens, Greece. E-mail:



Early identification of cardiovascular risk factors consists an essential target for public health. The current study aims to examine the association between neck circumference and several cardiovascular risk factors and to compare it with well-established anthropometric indices.


Demographic, anthropometric (body weight and height, waist, hip and neck circumference [WC, HC and NC, respectively]), biochemical (total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein [HDL] cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein [LDL] cholesterol, triglycerides [TG], fasting plasma glucose and serum insulin), clinical (pubertal stage, systolic and diastolic blood pressure [SBP and DBP, respectively]) and lifestyle (dietary intake, physical activity level) data were collected from 324 children (51.5% boys; 48.5% girls) aged 9–13 in Greece. Body mass index z-score (BMIz-score), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), waist-to-height ratio (WHtR), homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-IR), quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI) and fasting glucose to insulin ratio (FGIR) were calculated.


All indices (BMIz-score, NC, WC, HC, WHR and WHtR) were correlated with SBP, HDL and insulin-related indices (insulin, HOMA-IR, QUICKI and FGIR) and all indices except WHR with TG. LDL was correlated with BMIz-score, WC, WHR and WHtR, whereas DBP was correlated with BMIz-score, WC, HC and WHtR. In multivariate analysis, HDL, TG, SBP, insulin, HOMA-IR, QUICKI and FGIR were associated with all anthropometric indices; DBP with WC, HC, NC and WHtR; LDL with BMIz-score, WC, HC and WHtR.


NC is associated with most cardiovascular disease risk factors. These associations are comparable with those observed for BMIz-score, WC, HC, WHR and WHtR. NC could be a simple, alternative screening tool of cardiovascular risk in children.