Waist circumference is appropriate for quantifying body fat in university female students

  • Dorjana Zerbo Šporin University of Primorska
Keywords: waist circumference, waist-to-hip circumference ratio, bioelectrical impedance analysis, body fat, young adult females


Excessive body fat, especially central fat distribution, is a risk factor for many obesityrelated diseases. The screening of individuals for health risks, using the available methods to determine body composition, is usually impractical for field work. The aim of this study was to evaluate a simple anthropometric method to identify obesity and related co-morbidity risk in university female students. The research validates the usefulness of waist circumference and the waist-to-hip circumference ratio to quantify total body fat instead of using a bioelectrical impedance analyser. Waist circumference demonstrates (r = 0.79) a highly positive linear correlation with total body fat mass; 4% of participants show a moderate risk for developing cardio-metabolic disorders and should be involved in therapeutic protocols; weight loss and physical activity intervention can be prescribed. We can conclude that waist circumference can be used instead of bioimpedance analysers to screen the population of young adult females and identify those who are at risk due to increased body fat or central fat distribution. It is not possible to estimate the amount of total body fat of young adult females from their waist-to-hip circumference ratio, but it remains a good predictor of health risk.