Journal of Obesity & Metabolic Syndrome

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J Korean Soc Study Obes 2002; 11(2): 123-130

Published online June 1, 2002

Copyright © Korean Society for the Study of Obesity.

Reliability of Measurements of Waist Circumference at 3 Different Site

Young-Mee Lee,Hye Soon Park1,Byoung-Chul Chun2,Hyun Soo Kim3

Department of Medical Education & Family Medicine, College of Medicine, Korea University, Department of Family Medicine, College of Medicine, Ulsan Univeristy1, Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Korea University2, Seoul National University of Technology3

Abstract

Background: Assessment of waist circumference is being emphasized for the evaluation of fat
distribution. However, the sites for measurement of waist circumference differ depending on the
associations or the investigators. The standardization of waist circumference has not yet established in Korea. The purpose of this study was to find the site for reliable measurement of waist circumference in the subjects with various range of age, and BMI.
Method: The participants were recruited 111 persons (53 males and 58 females) participated in
this study voluntarily. All anthropometric values of study subjects were measured in fasting state with swimming suit. Waist circumference was measured by two trained personnel at 3 different sites; (1) WHO recommended site: midpoint between the lower border of the rib cage and the iliac crest; (2) umbilical level; (3) NIH suggested site: top of the iliac crest. Intra-observer, inter-observer, and total variations were analyzed.
Results: Intra-observer, inter-observer, and total variations of waist circumference measured at which WHO recommended, and umbilical level were lower than that of waist circumference measured at which NIH suggested. However, the difference of variations between the values of WHO method and that measured at umbilical level was not significant. The difference of variations was more prominent in female, subjects aged over 40 years, and subjects with BMI <25 kg/m2.
Conclusion: The variations of waist circumference measured at which midpoint between the lower border of the rib cage and the iliac crest, or umbilical level were lower that measured at which top of the iliac crest. It is needed to standard the site for measurement of waist circumference to assess abdominal obesity precisely in practice.

Keywords: Abdominal obesity, Waist circumference, Reliability