Neck circumference: A novel anthropometric tool for screening obesity in adults

Background: Obesity is as result of minor energy imbalance leading to gradual and persistent weight gain for a considerable period. To evaluate obesity in adults, Body mass index and waist circumference are recommended but, have some disadvantages. Neck circumference devoid of these disadvantages and has good correlation with body mass index and waist circumference in different studies, has to been included in the study for evaluation of obesity.

Objectives: This study was conducted to study the correlation of neck circumference with body mass index and waist circumference and to find critical cut off points for neck circumference for adults of central India.

Methodology: A community based cross sectional study was conducted in 479 adults in urban field practice area of a tertiary care hospital in central India. The people having established thyroid disease or enlargement, neck abnormalities, pregnant women and critically ill subjects were excluded. Socio demographic profile and anthropometric measurements were documented.

Results: Our study infers that there is a weak to moderate correlation between neck circumference and body mass index. Further, also that there is moderate correlation between neck circumference and waist circumference. On the basis of ROC analysis, we conclude that neck circumference is a fair test to evaluate obesity in adults. The cut off of 36.50cm in males and 32.50cm in females will help to screen the population of Asian Indian origin. The sensitivity of this screening test for this cut off was 84.85% and 73.68% in males and females respectively.

Discussion and conclusion: For a developing country like India which is facing a double burden of nutrition transition, neck circumference will be a feasible method to screen obesity in adults. It is cheap, socially acceptable, time saving and less cumbersome method to screen obesity.


Chaitanya Patil, Jyotsna Deshmukh, Shivani Yadav, Sneha Patil, Arshiya Sheikh

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