High Blood Pressure & Cardiovascular Prevention

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 265–273 | Cite as

Associations Between Hypertension and Body Mass Index and Waist Circumference in U.S. Adults: A Comparative Analysis by Gender

  • Ranjana Roka
  • Akihiko MichimiEmail author
  • Gretchen Macy
Original Article



The body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) are a risk of hypertension, but their potentially multiplicative effect on hypertension is underexplored.


To examine modifying effects of BMI and WC on hypertension using a nationally representative U.S. adult sample stratified by gender.


Data were derived from the 2009–2010 NHANES. Overweight and obesity were based on BMI of 25.0–29.9 and ≥30 kg/m2, respectively. High-risk WC was based on ≥102.0 and ≥88.0 cm for males and females, respectively. Hypertension was determined by systolic/diastolic blood pressure of ≥140/≥90 mmHg, or taking prescribed medications. Logistic regression was used to examine the association between hypertension and BMI and WC by gender. Interaction terms were added to examine if BMI modified the effect of WC on hypertension.


Both BMI and WC were significant predictors of hypertension in overall population. Gender-specific models indicated that BMI played an important role in hypertension risk among males, but WC in females. The interaction effects were present among males implying that the association of WC with hypertension was stronger if subjects were overweight or obese. This effect, however, was not present in females.


BMI and WC may influence hypertension differently among males and females.


Hypertension Body mass index Waist circumference Obesity Gender 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public HealthCollege of Health and Human Services, Western Kentucky UniversityBowling GreenUSA

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