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BACKGROUND: Whether measures of central adiposity are more or less strongly associated with risk of albuminuria than body mass index (BMI), and by how much diabetes/levels of glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) explain or modify these associations, is uncertain. METHODS: Ordinal logistic regression was used to estimate associations between values of central adiposity (waist-to-hip ratio) and, separately, general adiposity (BMI) with categories of urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio (uACR) in 408,527 UK Biobank participants. Separate central and general adiposity-based models were initially adjusted for potential confounders and measurement error, then sequentially, models were mutually adjusted (e.g. waist-to-hip ratio adjusted for BMI, and vice versa), and finally they were adjusted for potential mediators. RESULTS: Levels of albuminuria were generally low: 20,425 (5%) had a uACR ≥3 mg/mmol. After adjustment for confounders and measurement error, each 0.06 higher waist-to-hip ratio was associated with a 55% (95%CI 53-57%) increase in the odds of being in a higher uACR category. After adjustment for baseline BMI, this association was reduced to 32% (30-34%). Each 5 kg/m2 higher BMI was associated with a 47% (46-49%) increase in the odds of being in a higher uACR category. Adjustment for baseline waist-to-hip ratio reduced this association to 35% (33-37%). Those with higher HbA1c were at progressively higher odds of albuminuria, but positive associations between both waist-to-hip ratio and BMI were apparent irrespective of HbA1c. Altogether, about 40% of central adiposity associations appeared to be mediated by diabetes, vascular disease and blood pressure. CONCLUSIONS: Conventional epidemiological approaches suggest that higher waist-to-hip ratio and BMI are independently positively associated with albuminuria. Adiposity-albuminuria associations appear strong among people with normal HbA1c, as well as people with pre-diabetes or diabetes.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Obes (Lond)

Publication Date





2256 - 2266


Adiposity, Albuminuria, Biological Specimen Banks, Blood Pressure, Body Mass Index, Cross-Sectional Studies, Diabetes Mellitus, Female, Glycated Hemoglobin A, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Obesity, Abdominal, Prospective Studies, United Kingdom, Waist-Hip Ratio