Background: Waist circumference (WC) is an index of abdominal obesity and associated with co-morbidities and mortality. Higher WC is positively associated with increased mortality; therefore, we examined the relationship between WC and mortality in Korean populations with the interaction of body mass index (BMI) and WC for mortality.

Methods: A total of 23,263,878 subjects (men = 11,813,850 and women = 11,450,028) who were older than 20 years and underwent the National Health Insurance Service health checkup were included. WC was divided into six categories by 5 cm increments and level 3 (85-90 cm in men and 80-85 cm in women) was referenced. Multivariable Cox proportional hazard models were used to obtain the hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals for all-cause mortality according to the six levels of WC.

Results: WC in 5 cm increments showed a positively increased all-cause mortality after adjusting for all covariates including BMI. Men showed higher HRs for mortality than women as WC increased, and the HRs were higher in the lower WC levels, but lower in the higher WC levels among the subjects aged 65-85 years than subjects aged 40-65 years. Even in subjects with normal weight and overweight, increased WC (levels 4, 5, and 6) showed increased HRs for mortality (HRs = 1.156, 1.412, and 1.614 in normal BMI and 1.145, 1.401, and 1.909 in overweight, respectively).

Conclusion: There was a linear association between WC and all-cause mortality across all BMI categories even in the subjects with normal or overweight BMI. Physicians should check WC routinely even in the subjects with normal weight or overweight.


Y. Kim: None. S. Yoo: None. S. Lee: None.

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