Efficacy of anthropometric measures for identifying cardiovascular disease risk in adolescents: Review and Meta-Analysis

Michael Lichtenauer, Sean Wheatley, Marissa Martyn-St James, Michael Duncan, Fernanda Cobayashi, Gabriela Berg, Carla Musso, Mabel Graffigna, Jimena Soutelo, Pascal Bovet, Anastasios Kollias, George Stergiou, Evangelos Grammatikos, Claire Griffiths, Lee Ingle, Christian Jung

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)
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    BACKGROUND: To compare the ability of body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC) and waist to height ratio (WHtR) to estimate cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk levels in adolescents.
    METHODS: A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed after a database search for relevant literature (Cochrane, Centre for Review and Dissemination, PubMed, British Nursing Index, CINAHL, BIOSIS citation index, ChildData, metaRegister).
    RESULTS: 117 records representing 96 studies with 994,595 participants were included in the systematic review, 14 of which (13 studies, n=14,610) were eligible for the meta-analysis. The results of the meta-analysis showed that BMI was a strong indicator of systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and insulin; but not total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein or glucose. Few studies were eligible for inclusion in the meta-analysis considering WC or WHtR (n≤2). The narrative synthesis found measures of central adiposity to be consistently valid indicators of the same risk factors as BMI.
    CONCLUSIONS: BMI was an indicator of CVD risk. WC and WHtR were efficacious for indicating the same risk factors BMI performed strongly for, though there was insufficient evidence to judge the relative strength of each measure possibly due to heterogeneity in the methods for measuring and classifying WC.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)371-382
    Number of pages12
    JournalMinerva Pediatrica
    Issue number4
    Early online date12 Apr 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


    • Adolescents
    • Meta-analysis
    • Waist to height ratio
    • Waist circumference
    • BMI


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