Waist circumference cut points of >102 cm in men and >97 cm in women are indicative of elevated cardiovascular risk in Hispanic/Latino adults living in the United States, according to the results of a study published in Diabetes Care.

Population- and ethnicity-specific abdominal obesity cut points are necessary due to fluctuations in the overall population. The appropriate abdominal obesity cut points for identification of metabolic syndrome among Hispanic/Latino adults residing in the US have not yet been determined.

To establish an optimal definition for abdominal obesity in Hispanic/Latino adults and determine how this definition correlates with the presence of metabolic syndrome diagnosed by the current Joint Interim Statement (JIS) from 2009, data from 16,289 individuals (59.9% women) aged 18 to 74 years who self-identified as Hispanic/Latino were analyzed. The sample included individuals of Central American, Cuban, Dominican, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and South American ethnicity.

The mean waist circumference was 98.2 cm for men and 96.6 cm for women. The presence of coronary heart disease (CHD) was used as an indicator of cardiovascular disease risk; overall, the percentage of individuals with prevalent CHD was 6.8% for men and 5.4% for women.


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The waist circumference value that provided the optimal balance of sensitivity and specificity in association with prevalent CHD was 97 cm for women (65.4% sensitivity; 51.3% specificity) and 102 cm for men (50.6% sensitivity; 64.0% specificity). The optimal cut point for men was within current recommendations in the JIS for non-Hispanic white males, whereas the optimal cut point for women was well above the current JIS recommendation for non-Hispanic white women. Using the current JIS recommendation of 88 cm for women, the sensitivity was 87.7% with only a 24.2% specificity, resulting in a 5.2% greater prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the study population compared with a cut point of 97 cm.

These findings indicated that the JIS criteria for abdominal obesity overestimate the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in Hispanic/Latina women living in the US by approximately 5%. Future research is warranted to validate these findings.

Reference

Chirinos DA, Llabre MM, Goldberg R, et al. Defining abdominal obesity as a risk factor for coronary heart disease in the US: results from the Hispanic community health study/study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) [published online June 19, 2020]. Diabetes Care. doi:10.2337/dc19-1855