Central Obesity (CO) might arise among individuals with normal body mass index (BMI). We aim to estimate the prevalence of Normal Weight CO (NWCO), using different definitions, and to compare its association with cardiometabolic risk factors in the adult population of Panama. Data from two population-based studies conducted in Panama in 2010 and 2019 were used. Using standard definitions, normal weight was defined as a BMI between 18·5 and 24·9 while CO was defined as a Waist-to-Height Ratio (WHtR) ≥ 0·5 in both sexes or a Waist Circumference (WC) ≥ 90, ≥94, or ≥102 cm for men, and 80 or 88 cm for women. Unconditional logistic regression models were used to estimate the association between each CO definition and dyslipidemia, high blood pressure (HBP), diabetes, and clusters of cardiovascular risk factors. Recent CO prevalence ranged between 3·9% (WC ≥ 102 cm for men and WC ≥ 88 cm for women) and 43·9% (WHtR ≥ 0·5) among individuals classify as normal weigh according to the BMI. Different cardiovascular risk factors were present in this normal weight population but among men the threshold of WC ≥ 102 cm screened less than 1·0%. NWCO was associated with cardiovascular risk factors, particularly with elevated concentration of triglycerides. CO evaluation at the primary health care level may be a useful technique to identify normal weight people with metabolically obese characteristics. Gorgas Memorial Institute for Health studies via Ministry of Economy and Finance of Panama and Inter-American Development Bank.

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