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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Association between obesity indices and cardiovascular risk factors in late adolescence in the Seychelles

Pascal Bovet12*, Tiphaine Arlabosse1, Bharathi Viswanathan2 and Gary Myers3

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (IUMSP), Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland

2 Section of Noncommunicable Diseases, Ministry of Health, Victoria, Republic of Seychelles

3 Department of Child Neurology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY, USA

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BMC Pediatrics 2012, 12:176  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-12-176

Published: 7 November 2012

Abstract

Background

The ability of different obesity indices to predict cardiovascular risk is still debated in youth and few data are available in sub Saharan Africa. We compared the associations between several indices of obesity and cardiovascular risk factors (CVRFs) in late adolescence in the Seychelles.

Methods

We measured body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, waist/hip ratio (WHiR), waist/height ratio (WHtR) and percent fat mass (by bioimpedance) and 6 CVRFs (blood pressure, LDL-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting blood glucose and uric acid) in 423 youths aged 19–20 years from the general population.

Results

The prevalence of overweight/obesity and several CVRFs was high, with substantial sex differences. Except for glucose in males and LDL-cholesterol in females, all obesity indices were associated with CVRFs. BMI consistently predicted CVRFs at least as well as the other indices. Linear regression on BMI had standardized regression coefficients of 0.25-0.36 for most CVRFs (p<0.01) and ROC analysis had an AUC between 60%-75% for most CVRFs. BMI also predicted well various combinations of CVRFs: 36% of male and 16% of female lean subjects (BMI <P50) had ≥2 CVRFs compared to 74% of male and 46% of female overweight subjects (BMI >P90).

Conclusion

There was an elevated prevalence of obesity and of several CVRFs in youths in Seychelles. BMI predicted single or combined CVRFs at least as well as other simple obesity indices.

Keywords:
Obesity; Body mass index (BMI); Cardiovascular risk factors; Screening; Youth; Adolescents; Young adults; Africa