Waist to hip ratio in middle-aged women. Associations with behavioral and psychosocial factors and with changes in cardiovascular risk factors.
Waist to hip ratio (WHR) was measured in 487 middle-aged women participating in the Healthy Women Study. Upper body fat distribution was found to be associated with numerous behaviors that affect cardiovascular risk, including smoking, low exercise levels, weight gain during adulthood, and higher caloric intake. Moreover, WHR was also associated with higher levels of anger, anxiety, and depression and lower levels of perceived social support. Women with upper body fat obesity had higher systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and apolipoprotein B and lower levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) and the HDL subfractions 2 and 3. These associations remained significant after adjusting for body mass index. Among 108 women who had repeat measurements of WHR, changes in WHR over a 3-year period were significantly correlated with changes in activity and with decreases in HDL2. Thus, WHR appears to be an integral component of the cardiovascular risk profile. WHR is related to those behaviors and psychosocial attributes that influence cardiovascular risk.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association