Neck Circumference: Its Usage in Medicine and Biology

  • Bernhard Fink


Neck circumference, measured as the distance around the neck, is a simple and timesaving screening measure to identify obesity in both men and women. It is positively correlated with the components of the metabolic syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea. Furthermore, neck circumference is positively associated with traditional anthropometric measures of body circumferences and indices, such as the body mass index and the waist-to-hip ratio, and other physiological and biochemical measures of cardiovascular risk. It is positively correlated with systolic and diastolic blood pressure, triglycerides and glucose levels and has been used as a clinical predictor of menstrual irregularity, hirsutism, infertility, and insulin resistance. This has led to and increased interest in this measure with regard to its usefulness in clinical and epidemiological studies, but also from biological studies, interested in the possibility of an early predisposition for cardiovascular risk through early sex-steroid exposure. This chapter briefly reviews the reported associations with neck circumference and suggests possible applications also in non-clinical studies.


Obstructive Sleep Apnea Waist Circumference Sleep Apnea Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Obstructive Sleep Apnea Patient 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Apnea/hypopnea index


Body-mass index


Coronary heart disease


Free androgen index


Metabolic syndrome


Myocardial infarction


Neck circumference


Neck-to-height ratio


Obesity hypoventilation syndrome


Obstructive sleep apnea


Polycystic ovary syndrome


Pregnancy-induced hypertension




Waist circumference


Waist-to-hip ratio



The preparation of this article was supported by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)) through the Institutional Strategy of the University of Goettingen. B.F. is currently funded by an Emmy-Noether Fellowship of the DFG (FI 1450/4-1).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociobiology/AnthropologyUniversity of GoettingenGoettingenGermany

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