Preeclampsia Risk Linked More Closely to Waist-to-Hip Ratio vs BMI

Although BMI is often used to identify preeclampsia risk, some findings suggest waist-to-hip ratio may be more accurate.
Although BMI is often used to identify preeclampsia risk, some findings suggest waist-to-hip ratio may be more accurate.

This article is part of Endocrinology Advisor's coverage of the 26th American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) Annual Scientific Sessions & Clinical Congress, taking place in Austin, Texas. Our staff will report on medical research and technological advances in diabetes, obesity, and thyroid conditions, conducted by experts in the field. Check back regularly for more news from AACE 2017.


According to study results presented at the 26th American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) Annual Scientific Sessions & Clinical Congress, May 3-7, in Austin, Texas, waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is more closely associated with preeclampsia risk than body mass index (BMI).1

Preeclampsia is linked to elevated mortality and morbidity among mothers and infants. It is estimated to affect 3% to 5% of US women and 5% to 10% of women globally, and to cause 40% to 60% of maternal deaths in developing countries.2 Although BMI is often used to identify women at risk of developing the condition, some findings suggest WHR may be a more accurate measure.

 

To further clarify these connections, the researchers prospectively investigated the role of BMI and WHR as markers of preeclampsia in 380 women during the first trimester of pregnancy. Patients were assessed for both measures at ≤12 weeks of gestation, and they were monitored for preeclampsia after 20 weeks. Sociodemographic and outcome data for each patient were also captured.

The findings showed that the sample had a mean WHR of 1.04±0.12 SD and a mean BMI of 34.36±10.22 SD, and WHR increased along with maternal age and parity. Patients with preeclampsia were found to have higher WHRs and BMIs compared with healthy pregnant women.

Although both WHR and BMI were significantly associated with the subsequent development of preeclampsia (P =.005 and P =.001, respectively), which occurred in 5% of patients, WHR was more significantly related to preeclampsia risk compared with BMI. The relative risk for developing preeclampsia using WHR was 3.317 (95% CI, 1.5-6.75), and the risk associated with BMI was 2.418 (95% CI, 1.25-5.15). These results are in line with those of previous studies.

"This study revealed that first trimester measurement of [WHR] can detect more women that are at risk of preeclampsia compared to body mass index which is used routinely [in] the population studied," the investigators concluded.


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Reference

  1. Chukwunyere C, Anigbogu C. Comparison of waist-to-hip ratio and body mass index in first trimester as surrogate markers for development of preeclampsia. Abstract Presented at: 26th American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists Annual Scientific Sessions & Clinical Congress. May 3-7, 2017; Austin, TX.
  2. The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. How many women are affected by or at risk of preeclampsia? https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/preeclampsia/conditioninfo/Pages/risk.aspx. Accessed May 1, 2017. 
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