Association of waist circumference with perception of own health in urban African males and females: the Sympathetic Activity and Ambulatory Blood Pressure in Africans (SABPA) study

05 August 2014

Background: Current waist circumference (WC) cut-points of the Joint Statement Consensus (JSC) (male ≥ 94 cm, female ≥ 80 cm) were compared with a recently proposed WC cut-point (RPWC) (male ≥ 90 cm, female ≥ 98 cm). In this study, we aimed to compare the two cut-points to assess the association between central obesity and perception of own health. Method: We determined blood pressure and fasting bloods [glucose, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and triglycerides] as metabolic syndrome markers for 171 urban teachers. Perception of own health was determined via the General Health Questionnaire-28 (GHQ-28) to indicate probable psychological distress or a psychiatric disorder or caseness (≥ 4). Results: The RPWC was an improved discrimination between the WC groups on perception of own health as reflected in the GHQ-28 subscales. In the male group, higher scores were found in the RPWC high WC group (≥ 90 cm) with regard to somatic symptoms, social dysfunction and GHQ-28 caseness, compared to those of the low WC groups (< 90 cm). Compared to the RPWC high WC females (≥ 98 cm), the low WC (< 98 cm) reflected significantly higher anxiety and sleeplessness subscale scores. Conclusion: Our results suggest that the RPWC (men 90 cm, women 98 cm), (determined in this African cohort when adding GHQ-28 caseness as a discriminatory variable between WC cut-point), distinguished better between WC groups based on their perception of own health than the JSC cut-point.