Introduction: Visceral adiposity is shown to be associated with cardiovascular disease. Aim of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of visceral fat percentage (VF%) and body fat percentage (BF%), compared to anthropometric parameters, BMI waist circumference (WC), and waist hip ratio(WHR) in predicting obesity and cardiovascular risk.
Method: A descriptive cross sectional study conducted within five health divisions in Colombo district in Sri Lanka. Three hundred and eighty two study participants were screened. An interviewer administered questionnaire was used to assess the demographic and medical history. Body fat and visceral fat percentages were estimated using bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) method. Cardiovascular risk was calculated using Framinghams cardiovascular risk score.
Results: According to the BMI international cutoff, 3.3% (n=4) males and 13% (n=34) females were obese. Use of Asian Indian cutoff increased this to 36% (n=44) among males and 49.2% (n=128) among females. Based on BF% obesity was 42.6% (n=52) and 83.8% (n=218) among males and females respectively. Central obesity was 39.3% (n=48) and 61.9% (n=161) according to the WC and 37.7% (n=46) and 61.9% (n=161) according to VF% among males and females respectively. VF% showed the strongest correlation with BMI in both females(r=0.863, P< 0.001) and males (r=858, P<0.001) than with WC (females r=0.781, P<0.001, males r=733, P<0.001) and WHR (females r=0.441, P< 0.001, males r=0.605, P<0.001). Ten year cardiovascular risk was > 10% in 37.7% (n=46) males and 25.7% (n=67) females. Cardiovascular risk showed a significant but weak correlation with VF%, and WHR (r=0.293, 0.246, P<0.001) in females but not in males.
Conclusions: BMI is a good predictor of visceral fat mass, compared to other anthropometric parameters like WC and WHR, in both males and females, which are measures of visceral obesity. Cardiovascular risk does not show a strong correlation with anthropometric parameters of obesity.