Neck Circumference as a useful marker of Obesity: A Study among the Marwari Population of Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Monali Goswami, Srijan Chakrabarti


Overweight and obesity are still major public health problems and an important criterion for predicting chronic diseases. This paper envisages neck circumference (NC) as a useful marker of obesity.  Neck circumference is an important anthropometric measurement and an indicator of upper body subcutaneous adipose tissue distribution. The present study apprehends the association of NC as a useful screening measure of overweight and obesity as compared to the conventional anthropometric variables used among the Indian adults. In this cross-sectional study 144 Marwari adult population (Males-72, Females-72) were selected from Saltlake, Kolkata, India through purposive random sampling. Measurements like height, weight, Mid Upper-Arm Circumference (MUAC) and neck circumference (NC) were collected by standard procedures. The body mass index (BMI) was calculated and prevalence of overweight and obesity was assessed using standard cut-offs. The various statistical tests like t-test, Pearson’s correlation and ANOVA were performed. The mean values of MUAC, BMI and NHtR was observed to be significantly higher in females than males (p<0.01). The prevalence of obesity using BMI (≥25.0 kg/m2) was 20.8% and 75.0% respectively among the males and the females and this was found to be statistically significant (p<0.01). The prevalence of obesity using NC and NHtR was observed to be significantly higher among females than males (p<0.01). Among the males and females, a strong positive statistically significant (p<0.01) correlation is observed between weight, MUAC, BMI, NHtR and NC. The association of anthropometric variables with age groups (ANOVA)was found to be statistically significant in females  with respect to NC, NHtR (p<0.001) and weight, MUAC and BMI (p<0.01). Thus, NC seems to be a simple, assessable anthropometric measurement and a good predictor of excess adiposity. Hence, it is apparent from the study that neck circumference can be used independently as a screening measure for the assessment of obesity. The present study instigates the use of NC as a screening tool and also reinforces to derive population specific NC cut-off values of different ethnic groups.


Neck Circumference, Obesity, Overweight, Body Mass Index, Mid Upper Arm Circumference

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