Waist circumference (WC), body mass index (BMI), and disability among older adults in Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC)

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33 Scopus citations


Purpose: To examine the association between WC and BMI on disability among older adults from LAC. Methods: Cross-sectional, multicenter city study of 5786 subjects aged 65 years and older from the Health, Well-Being and Aging in Latin America and the Caribbean (SABE) study (1999-2000). Sociodemographic variables, smoking status, medical conditions, BMI, WC, and activities of daily living (ADL) were obtained. Results: Prevalence of high WC (HWC) (>88. cm) in women ranged from 48.5% (Havana) to 72.7% (Mexico City), while among men (>102. cm) it ranged from 12.5% (Bridgetown) to 32.5% (Santiago). The associations between WC and ADL disability were " J" shaped, with higher risks of ADL disability observed above 110. cm for women in Bridgetown, Santiago, Havana, and Montevideo. The association in Sao Paulo is plateau with higher risk above 100. cm, and the association in Mexico City is closer to linear. Among men the associations were " U" (Bridgetown, Sao Paulo, and Havana), " J" shaped (Montevideo), plateau (Santiago), and closer to linear in Mexico City. When WC and BMI were analyzed together, we found that participants from Sao Paulo, Santiago, Havana, and Montevideo in the overweight or obese category with HWC were significantly more likely to report ADL disability after adjusting for all covariates. Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that both general and abdominal adiposity are associated with disability and support the use of WC in addition to BMI to assess risk of disability in older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e40-e47
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • BMI
  • Disability
  • Latin America
  • Obesity
  • Older adults
  • The Caribbean
  • WC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Aging
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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