Correlation between Body Mass Index and abdominal circumference in Belgian adults: a cross-sectional study

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Introduction. Traditionally, the body mass index (BMI) is used to describe anthropometric measurements and to assess weight-related health risks. However, the abdominal circumference (AC) might also be a valuable parameter to estimate this risk. This study aims to describe an association between the BMI and the AC.

Material and Methods. Participants were recruited during the Brussels Food Fair in 2014. They completed a questionnaire with their medical history, and health related parameters such as blood pressure, weight, height and AC were measured.

Results. In total, 705 participants were analyzed. Men had a mean BMI of 27.3 kg/m2 and a mean AC of 98.7 cm. Women had a mean BMI of 26.0 kg/m2 and a mean AC of 88.2 cm. The Pearson’s correlation coefficient between the BMI and the AC was 0.91 for men and 0.88 for women. There was a strong positive correlation between the BMI and the AC. In the identification of patients at high risk for weight-related diseases, the use of the AC identified more patients than the BMI. Especially more women were ranking in a higher risk class with the AC than with the BMI classification. Both the BMI as well as the AC identified most diseases with an increased relative risk.

Conclusion. There is a strong correlation between the BMI and the AC. There are too few arguments to prefer the use of AC above the BMI to detect people at high risk for weight-related diseases.

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