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18-01-2011 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Monitoring waist circumference may aid CV risk prediction in teenage girls


Free abstract

MedWire News: Measuring waist circumference is a valuable adjunct to standard approaches for identifying adolescents at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, US researchers believe.

David Tybor (Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts) and co-workers tested the hypothesis that age-related changes in waist circumference - reflecting central adiposity - predict longitudinal changes in cardiovascular disease risk.

They analyzed data on 2379 Black and White girls who participated in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Growth and Health Study. The participants were aged 9-10 years at baseline and were followed-up at least twice following the onset of menarche.

For each participant, Tybor's group assessed changes in waist circumference, adjusted for age-specific body mass index Z-scores (a proxy for total adiposity), with respect to changes in blood lipids, blood pressure, and insulin resistance.

As expected, waist circumference increased during adolescence. In White but not Black girls, steeper age-related increases in waist circumference over time were associated with a greater increase in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and insulin resistance.

By contrast, the change in waist circumference did not predict age-related changes in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglyceride, insulin, or glucose levels in either White or Black girls.

Writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Tybor and co-authors say that changes in waist circumference are a significant predictor of longitudinal changes in cardiovascular disease risk, after adjusting for changes in BMI Z-score.

"This suggests that monitoring waist circumference in addition to BMI Z-score has the potential to identify adolescents at risk of the emergence of cardiovascular disease risk factors, at least in White females," they conclude.

"The data also suggest that race is a potential effect modifier in the relation between fat distribution patterns and cardiovascular disease risk - an observation that should be taken into consideration for future research."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Joanna Lyford