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18-10-2010 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Pediatric weight-to-height ratio ‘a simple measure of cardiometabolic risk’


Free abstract

MedWire News: Weight-to-height ratio (WHR) is a useful anthropometric index for assessing cardiometabolic risk in children, irrespective of their weight, study findings suggest.

Gerald Berenson (Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA) and co-workers studied 3091 children aged 4-18 years. Half of the cohort was Black and half was White.

Using age-, race-, and gender-specific percentiles, the children were classified as normal weight (5-85th percentile; n=2581) or overweight/obese (85th percentile or above; n=510). Central obesity was then diagnosed based on WHR; using a threshold of 0.5, 9.2% of normal-weight children and 81.2% of overweight/obese children were centrally obese.

Writing in the journal BMC Pediatrics, Berenson's group reports that normal-weight centrally obese children were 1.66, 2.01, 1.47, and 2.05 times more likely to have adverse levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high-density-lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin, respectively, as compared with normal-weight non-centrally-obese children.

In addition, normal-weight centrally obese children were significantly more likely than other children to have a parental history of Type 2 diabetes and a personal diagnosis of the metabolic syndrome.

Among overweight/obese children, meanwhile, those without central obesity were 0.53 and 0.27 times less likely to have significant adverse levels of HDL cholesterol and insulin resistance, respectively, as compared with those with central obesity.

Furthermore, non-centrally-obese overweight/obese children were significantly less likely than others to have a parental history of hypertension or Type 2 diabetes mellitus and a personal diagnosis of the metabolic syndrome.

Based on their findings, Berenson's group concludes that WHR appears to not only detect central obesity and adverse cardiometabolic risk among normal-weight children but also identifies such conditions among overweight and obese individuals.

"Thus, WHR has a potential for wider use as a simple measure cardiometabolic risk in pediatric primary care practice," they write.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Joanna Lyford

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