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Waist circumference measures: cutoff analyses to detect obesity and cardiometabolic risk factors in a Southeast Brazilian middle-aged men population - a cross-sectional study

Alessandro de Oliveira12*, Paula G Cocate1, Helen Hermana M Hermsdorff1, Josefina Bressan1, Mateus Freitas de Silva3, Joel Alves Rodrigues3 and Antônio José Natali3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Nutrition and Health, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Av. PH Rolfs, s/n, Viçosa, Minas Gerais 36570-000, Brazil

2 Department of Physical Education Science and Health, Universidade Federal de São João del-Rei, São João del-Rei, Minas Gerais, Brazil

3 Department of Physical Education, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil

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Lipids in Health and Disease 2014, 13:141  doi:10.1186/1476-511X-13-141

Published: 1 September 2014



Low-cost practical and reliable tools to evaluated obesity-related cardiometabolic diseases are of clinical practice and public heath relevance worldwide. The aims of this cross-sectional study were to determine the anatomical point of waist circumference that best identify overweight, obesity and central obesity in Southeast Brazilian middle-aged men and to test the relationships of its cutoff points with metabolic syndrome (MetS), insulin resistance (IR) and cardiometabolic risk factors.


Three hundred men [age: 51 (47–54)] underwent anthropometric, body composition, clinical, sociodemographic and blood plasma biochemical evaluations.


The umbilical line circumference (WCUL) was the best predictor for overweight (total body fat ≥ 20%; cutoff point: 88.8 cm), obesity (total body fat ≥ 25%; cutoff point: 93.4 cm) and central obesity (abdominal area fat ≥ 34.6%; cutoff point: 95.6 cm) as measured by dual beam X-ray absorptiometry. Subjects with WCUL ≥ 88.8 cm or ≥ 93.4 cm showed significantly higher values for MetS, IR and cardiometabolic risk factors (i.e. glucose and lipid profiles, blood pressure). The occurrence of WCUL ≥ 88.8 cm was positively associated (p <0.01) with the prevalence of MetS and cardiometabolic risk factors and increased the central obesity prevalence by 19.3% while that of WCUL ≥ 93.4 cm was associated with the prevalence of MetS, IR and cardiometabolic risk factors.


WCUL measure seems to be the best predictor for overweight, obesity and central obesity in urban residents Southeast Brazilian middle-aged men; and the WCUL cutoff point (88.8 cm) is significantly associated with MetS, IR and cardiometabolic risk factors in the studied population.

Obesity; Waist circumference; Non-communicable disease; Metabolic syndrome