(HealthDay News) – Inclusion of both waist and hip circumference as separate anthropometric measurements may improve risk prediction for obesity-related mortality and morbidity.

Noting that both larger waist and narrow hips correlate with an increased risk of mortality and morbidity, Adrian J. Cameron, PhD, from Deakin University in Burwood, Australia, and colleagues reviewed the literature to examine the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and premature mortality for levels of waist and hip circumferences when both anthropometric measures are included in statistical models.

The researchers identified 10 studies that reported the association between hip circumference and death and/or disease outcome, which was unadjusted and adjusted for waist circumference. In five studies, the risk associated with waist circumference was adjusted and unadjusted for hip circumference. The full strength of the association between either waist or hip circumference with morbidity and/or mortality was only apparent when both anthropometric measures were included in the model, with the exception of one study of venous thromboembolism. The effect of obesity on morbidity and/or mortality was seriously underestimated when the protective effect of hip circumference was not accounted for.

“Both waist and hip circumference should be included in studies of obesity-related outcomes, with the measurement and consideration of both terms independently rather than as a ratio measure potentially improving our understanding of the consequences of obesity,” the authors write.

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