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Obesity is associated with increased cardiovascular risk. Anthropometric cut-off values derived for Caucasians may not be applicable to other populations. The main objective of the present study was to derive population-specific anthropometric cut-off values to define high CVD risk for Sri Lankan adults. A nationally representative sample of 4474 non-institutionalised adults aged ≥ 18 years was analysed. Cut-off values to provide optimum sensitivity and specificity were derived using receiver-operating characteristic curve analysis. BMI, waist circumference (WC), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), blood pressure and overnight fasting venous blood samples were collected to measure glucose, HDL-cholesterol and TAG. An oral glucose tolerance test was also performed. The results suggested that the age-adjusted BMI, WC and WHR were significantly associated with all cardiovascular risk factors (P < 0·001). Cut-off values for BMI, WC and WHR for males were 20·7 kg/m2, 76·5 cm and 0·89, respectively. The respective values for females were 22·0 kg/m2, 76·3 cm and 0·85. The common cut-off value for BMI for males and females was 21·5 kg/m2. Similarly, WC and WHR cut-off values for both males and females were 76·3 cm and 0·87, respectively. The Asian and Caucasian anthropometric cut-off levels showed lower sensitivity and higher false negative percentage compared with newly derived cut-off levels. In conclusion, BMI, WC and WHR were all associated with increased CVD risk. We propose the following anthropometric cut-off points to determine high CVD risk level for Sri Lankan adults: BMI ≥ 21·5 kg/m2, WC ≥ 76 cm and WHR ≥ 0·85 (women) and 0·90 (men).

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Nutr

Publication Date





1084 - 1090


Adult, Anthropometry, Asian Continental Ancestry Group, Body Mass Index, Cardiovascular Diseases, European Continental Ancestry Group, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Obesity, ROC Curve, Reference Values, Risk Factors, Sex Factors, Sri Lanka, Waist Circumference, Waist-Hip Ratio