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Acta Médica Costarricense

On-line version ISSN 0001-6002Print version ISSN 0001-6012


ARAUZ-HERNANDEZ, Ana Gladys; GUZMAN-PADILLA, Sonia  and  ROSELLO-ARAYA, Marlene. Waist circumference as indicator of cardiovascular risk. Acta méd. costarric [online]. 2013, vol.55, n.3, pp.122-127. ISSN 0001-6002.

Background: Obesity affects more that 60% of Costa Rican adults. There is consensus on the fact that fat accumulation in the intra-abdominal region is a risk for cardiovascular disease, and that the measurement of waist circumference is an indirect indicator used for its identification. The objective of the present study was to use this measurement to describe the characteristics of the urban population and its stratification according to the risk level of suffering cardiovascular diseases. Methods: The study´s population consisted of 325 adults (76.9% women), ages between 20 and 44 years old; residents of the Santa Ana Health Area, which were at home at the time of the regular visit of the primary health care technician. Results: Average age was 30±6.5 years; 50.1% were housewives and 40.9% had elementary schooling. The mean of the waist circumference among women was 86.4±12.4 cm and 88.1±11.5 cm among men; this value increases to more than 88 cm and more than 102 cm, respectively, if the population at risk is excluded. According to the cutting points of the WHO, the population at risk was 57.5%, out of which 31.1% presented high risk values (WC > 88 cm in women and 102 cm in men), and this increased with age. Conclusion: The structure at the primary level allows measuring the waist circumference at home, as a simple and practical method to identify the population at risk.

Keywords : Waist obesity; waist circumference; Primary Health Care; cardiovascular diseases.

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