Self-measured vs professionally measured waist circumference

Barbara G. Carranza Leon, Michael D. Jensen, Jennifer J. Hartman, Teresa B. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

PURPOSE Although waist circumference can provide important metabolic risk information, logistic issues inhibit its routine use in outpatient practice settings. We assessed whether self-measured waist circumference is sufficiently accurate to replace professionally measured waist circumference for identifying high-risk patients. METHODS Medical outpatients and research participants self-measured their waist circumference at the same visit during which a professionally measured waist circumference was obtained. Participants were provided with standardized pictorial instructions on how to measure their waist circumference, and professionals underwent standard training. RESULTS Self- and professionally measured waist circumference data were collected for 585 women (mean ± SD age = 40 ± 14 years, mean ± SD body mass index = 27.7 ± 6.0 kg/m2) and 165 men (mean ± SD age = 41 ± 14 years, mean ± SD body mass index = 29.3 ± 4.6 kg/m2). Although self- and professionally measured waist circumference did not differ significantly, we found a clinically important false-negative rate for the self-measurements. Eleven percent of normal-weight and 52% of overweight women had a professionally measured waist circumference putting them in a high-risk category for metabolic syndrome (ie, greater than 88 cm); however, 57% and 18% of these women, respectively, undermeasured their waist circumference as falling below that cutoff. Fifteen percent and 84% of overweight and class I obese men, respectively, had a professionally measured waist circumference putting them in the high-risk category (ie, greater than 102 cm); however, 23% and 16% of these men, respectively, undermeasured their waist circumference as falling below that cutoff. CONCLUSIONS Despite standardized pictorial instructions for self-measured waist circumference, the false-negative rate of self-measurements approached or exceeded 20% for some groups at high risk for poor health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-266
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of family medicine
Volume14
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2016

Keywords

  • Anthropometrics
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Practice-based research
  • Primary care
  • Risk assessment
  • Waist circumference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

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