Waist circumference measurement in clinical practice

Rosane Ness-Abramof, Caroline M. Apovian

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


The obesity epidemic is a major public health problem worldwide. Adult obesity is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Measurement of abdominal obesity is strongly associated with increased cardiometabolic risk, cardiovascular events, and mortality. Although waist circumference is a crude measurement, it correlates with obesity and visceral fat amount, and is a surrogate marker for insulin resistance. A normal waist circumference differs for specific ethnic groups due to different cardiometabolic risk. For example, Asians have increased cardiometabolic risk at lower body mass indexes and with lower waist circumferences than other populations. One criterion for the diagnosis of the metabolic syndrome, according to different study groups, includes measurement of abdominal obesity (waist circumference or waist-to-hip ratio) because visceral adipose tissue is a key component of the syndrome. The waist circumference measurement is a simple tool that should be widely implemented in clinical practice to improve cardiometabolic risk stratification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-404
Number of pages8
JournalNutrition in Clinical Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Body weight
  • Body weight changes
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Metabolic syndrome X
  • Obesity
  • Waist-hip ratio


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