, Volume 40, Issue 6, pp 282-288

Five year changes in waist circumference, body mass index and obesity in Augsburg, Germany

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Aims To assess temporal changes in body fat distribution, body mass index and obesity in Augsburg, Germany. Methods Waist circumference, weight and height were measured in two independent samples of 4804 and 4792, men and women, aged 25–74 years, in the MONICA Augsburg surveys 1989/90 and 1994/95. Abdominal obesity was defined as waist circumference greater than the 80th gender-specific percentile (men:103, women: 92 cm) in the 1989/90 population. Obesity was defined as a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 kg/m2. Results Age-standardized mean waist circumference increased by more than 1 cm (p-value < 0.00003) in both men and women while BMI increased by 0.3–0.4 kg/m2 (p-value < 0.01). We observed both a shift to higher values in the waist circumference distribution plus – particularly in women older than 45 years – a substantial right shift in the top of the distribution. Moreover, survey participants in 1994/95 who were at the higher end of the BMI distributions were disproportionately more obese than their respective peers in 1989/90. The prevalence of abdominal obesity rose by 3.3 % in men and 3.6 % in women, while the prevalence of obesity rose by 2 % from 17 % in men and by 2.5 % from 19 % in women. Conclusions While changes in the Augsburg population may not be as alarming as in other countries, the secular increase in waist circumferences in both men and women occurring over a short time period indicates a need for prevention given the already high absolute weight, BMI and waist circumference levels in the population.

Received: 8 August 2001, Accepted: 14 November 2001