BMI, Waist Circumference Often Discordant

(HealthDay News) — BMI and waist circumference are frequently discordant, generally because of variability in visceral adiposity within BMI categories, according to a study published in The American Journal of Cardiology.

Julie-Anne Nazare, PhD, from the Institut Universitaire de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie de Québec in Canada, and colleagues examined the relevance of adding waist circumference to BMI for the estimation of visceral adiposity and cardiometabolic risk

Two hundred ninety-seven physicians recruited 4,504 patients from 29 countries; analyses included data from 4,109 patients. The authors measured both BMI and waist circumference and assessed visceral adiposity and liver fat by computed tomography (CT).

The researchers found that although there was a strong correlation between waist circumference and BMI (r=0.87 and r=0.84 for men and women, respectively), about 30% of participants displayed discordant values for waist circumference and BMI quintiles. 

Visceral adiposity and waist circumference showed considerable between-subject variability within each BMI category. Increasing gender-specific waist circumference tertiles correlated with significantly higher visceral adiposity, liver fat and a more adverse cardiometabolic risk profile within each BMI category.

“In conclusion, this large international cardiometabolic study highlights the frequent discordance between BMI and [waist circumference], driven by the substantial variability in [visceral adiposity] for a given BMI,” the researchers wrote. “[Waist circumference] allows a further refinement of the cardiometabolic risk related to any given BMI.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Sanofi, which funded the study.


  1. Nazare JA et al. Am J Cardiol. 2015;115(3):307-315.