WAIST TO HEIGHT RATIO (WHTR): AN ANTHROPOMETRIC INDICATOR FOR EARLY DETECTION OF HEALTH RISK FOR MALAYSIA’S NATIONAL HEALTH AND MORBIDITY SURVEY (NHMS).
Background: Body Mass Index (BMI) been recognized to be less sensitive towards differentiating between muscular and the overweight. The purpose of this study was to identify the prevalence of adults who are at health risk by WHtR but had normal BMI and to investigate whether WHtR is a better health risk correlator compared to BMI and WC
Materials and Methods: Data from the Malaysia Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2015 was used. A descriptive analysis for socioeconomic and anthropometric variables was carried out. Correlations between the variables BMI, WHtR, SBP, DBP, Total cholesterol and Diabetes were checked using Pearson correlation test. The analysis of ROC curve was used to assess the accuracy of BMI, WC and WHtR as early health risk indicators for diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.
Result: A total of 18373 respondents were included in this study. Findings showed 19.4% of adults with ‘normal weight by BMI’ have WHtR greater than 0.5 and are at health risk. Population that are at risk by BMI but not at risk by WHtR are only 2.9% from total population. ROC curve showed greater discriminatory power for WHtR compared with BMI for diabetes and high cholesterol but not DSP and SBP.These findings showed that WHtR had the best performance for diabetes and high cholesterol but not diastolic and systolic pressure.
Conclusion: WHtR is effective in screening early health risk compared to BMI and WC. The Ministry of Health, Malaysia should investigate the benefits of using WHtR in their population-based studies.
Keywords: BMI, Waist Circumference, Waist to height ratio, health risk