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Open Access Research

Is high body fat estimated by body mass index and waist circumference a predictor of hypertension in adults? A population-based study

Diego Augusto Santos Silva1*, Edio Luiz Petroski1 and Marco Aurelio Peres2

Author affiliations

1 Post-graduation Program in Physical Education, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil

2 Post-graduation Program in Public Health, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil

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Citation and License

Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:112  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-112

Published: 17 December 2012

Abstract

Background

The aim of this study was to assess the predictive capacity of body fat percentage (%BF) estimated by equations using body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) to identify hypertension and estimate measures of association between high %BF and hypertension in adults.

Methods

This is a cross-sectional population-based study conducted with 1,720 adults (20–59 years) from Florianopolis, southern Brazil. The area under the ROC curve, sensitivity, specificity, predictive values, and likelihood ratios of cutoffs for %BF were calculated. The association between %BF and hypertension was analyzed using Poisson regression, estimating the unadjusted and adjusted prevalence ratios and 95% CI.

Results

The %BF equations showed good discriminatory power for hypertension (area under the ROC curve > 0.50). Considering the entire sample, the cutoffs for %BF with better properties for screening hypertension were identified in the equation with BMI for men (%BF = 20.4) and with WC for women (%BF = 34.1). Adults with high %BF had a higher prevalence of hypertension.

Conclusions

The use of simple anthropometric measurements allowed identifying the %BF, diagnosing obesity, and screening people at risk of hypertension in order to refer them for more careful diagnostic evaluation.

Keywords:
Anthropometry; Risk factors; Obesity; Hypertension; Adults