Background Estimation of relative contribution of Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) on health outcomes requires a regression model that includes both obesity metrics. But, multicollinearity could yield biased estimates.
Methods To address the multicollinearity issue between BMI and WC, we used the residual model approach. The standard WC (Y-axis) was regressed on the BMI (X-axis) to obtain residual WC. Data from two adult population surveys (Nunavik Inuit and James Bay Cree) were analysed to evaluate relative effect of BMI and WC on four cardiometabolic risk factors: insulin, triglycerides, systolic blood pressure and high-density lipoprotein levels.
Results In multivariate models, standard WC and BMI were significantly associated with cardiometabolic outcomes. Residual WC was not linked with any outcomes. The BMI effect was weakened by including standard WC in the model, but its effect remained unchanged if residual WC was considered.
Conclusions The strong correlation between standard WC and BMI does not allow assessment of their relative contributions to health in the same model without a risk of making erroneous estimations. By contrast with BMI, fat distribution (residual WC) does not add valuable information to a model that already contains overall adiposity (BMI) in Inuit and Cree.
- Coronary Heart Disease
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