Background: The waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) may be a better adiposity measure than the body mass index (BMI). We evaluated the prognostic performance of WHtR in patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS). Methods: First, we compared WHtR and BMI as adiposity measures in 712 healthy adults by tetrapolar bioimpedance analysis. Thereafter, baseline WHtR was analyzed as predictor of 12-month all-cause mortality in 821 Mexican mestizo adults with first-ever AIS by a Cox proportional hazards model adjusted for baseline predictors. Results: In healthy individuals, WHtR correlated higher than BMI with total fat mass and showed a higher accuracy in identifying a high percentage of body fat (p < 0.01). In AIS patients a U-shaped relationship was observed between baseline WHtR and mortality (fatality rate 29.1%). On multivariate analysis, baseline WHtR ≤0.300 or >0.800 independently predicted 12-month all-cause mortality (hazard ratio 1.91, 95% confidence interval 1.04-3.51). BMI was not associated with mortality, tested either as continuous, binomial or stratified variable. Conclusion: WHtR is a modifiable risk factor that accurately demonstrates body fat excess. Extreme WHtR values were associated with increased 12-month all-cause mortality in Mexican mestizo patients with AIS. No survival advantage was found with high WHtR as the pragmatic indicator of obesity in this population.

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