A Cross-sectional Study to Assess Neck Circumference as an Indicator of Central Obesity among Healthy Adults in Rural Karnataka

K Anupama, R G Geethalakshmi, G K Ratnaprabha



 Background: Neck circumference (NC) is a measure of upper body fat. The present study was planned to determine if NC is a valid measure of obesity in rural Karnataka. Objectives: The objectives of the study were as follows: (1) To determine the validity of NC for the assessment of central obesity among healthy adults in a rural field practice area of SSIMS and RC and (2) to assess the prevalence of obesity among these adults. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional community-based study was done at rural field practice area of SSIMS and RC. The required sample size was 260 and proportionate sample was chosen from each subcenter with equal number of males and females purposively. Adults >18 years and apparently healthy individuals, willing to participate in the study, were selected. Data were collected using a semi-structured questionnaire which consists of sociodemographic details, personal and family history of any chronic illness. Following measurements were taken – NC, waist circumference (WC), hip circumference (HC), height, and weight. Analysis: Statistical analysis was done using statistical software SPSS 20. Analysis was done for mean, SD, frequency, and percentage. Sensitivity and specificity were analyzed by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve. Results: Among 260 participants, males were found to be 50.8% and females were 49.2%. Age group 18–30 years found to be 28.8%. The mean and SD of anthropometric measurements, that is, NC, WC, and body mass index (BMI) were 34.16 ± 3.31 cm, 85.04 ± 12.44 cm, and 23.66 ± 4.57 cm. Considering WC as an indicator of central obesity, the sensitivity and specificity of NC were estimated using ROC curve. The cutoff point of NC was found to be 35.75 cm in males and 31.5 cm in females. The prevalence of central obesity using NC was found to be 35.2%. The prevalence of obesity was slightly higher among males compared to females using BMI criteria, while the prevalence was higher among females using all other criteria, that is, WC, WHR, and NC. Conclusion: The prevalence of obesity based on the NC was found to be 35.2%, prevalence of obesity based on BMI was found to be 48.8%, and prevalence of obesity based on WC was found to be 50.7%. NC measurement is a simple, convenient, inexpensive screening measure to identify central obesity among males and females.

Key words: Adults, neck circumference, obesity, rural Karnataka, validity

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