What are the Associations between Anthropometric Indices, Blood Pressure & Physical Fitness Performance in Young Swiss Men?

Research Paper Title

Associations between anthropometric indices, blood pressure and physical fitness performance in young Swiss men: a cross-sectional study.

Background

To assess the benefit of waist circumference (WC) measurements during routine conscription medical examination in two military conscription centres in Switzerland. We compared the prevalence of overweight and obesity assessed by body mass index (BMI) with the prevalence of elevated disease risks assessed by WC and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR). We investigated how these measures were associated with systolic blood pressure, physical fitness performance and socioeconomic determinants.

Methods

This was a cross-sectional survey set in two Swiss conscription centres in 2016. There were 1,548 Swiss male conscripts, 18-22 years old.

The main outcome of the study was to determine the prevalences of elevated WC, WHtR and BMI values according to WHO categories. Secondary outcomes included systolic blood pressure, physical fitness performance and endurance performance.

Results

Using BMI cut-points, 25.0% of all conscripts were overweight or obese. When applying WC cut-points, 9.2% had an increased disease risk, while 14.8% of the conscripts were at risk using WHtR cut-points. In the BMI range of 25.0-27.4 kg/m2, 3.6% showed an increased disease risk when using WC and 24.6% when using WHtR cut-points. Of the conscripts with a BMI of 27.5-29.9 kg/m2, 72.4% had an increased disease risk using WHtR, and 42.5% when using WC cut-points. Determinants of elevated BMI, WC and WHtR were low occupational status, rural residential area, older age and location in central and Northwest Switzerland. Systolic blood pressure increased with increasing BMI, WC and WHtR. Physical fitness and endurance test performances decreased with increasing BMI, WC and WHtR.

Conclusions

In addition to BMI, WC and WHtR add relevant information to the health assessment of young men. However, the prevalence of overweight/increased health risk differed when using BMI, WC or WHtR. Further studies should include measures of body composition to test whether these differences arise from muscular young men within the overweight BMI range, who had a normal WC.

Reference

Staub, K., Floris, J., Koepke, N., Trapp, A., Nacht, A., Schärli Maurer, S., Rühli, F.J. & Bender, N. (2018) Associations between anthropometric indices, blood pressure and physical fitness performance in young Swiss men: a cross-sectional study. BMJ Open. 8(6), pp.e018664. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018664.

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