objective: to evaluate if the waist circumference and the waist-to-height ratio (whtr) are predictors of cardiovascular risk factors in female adolescents. methods: 113 adolescents aged 14 to 19 years old were assessed according to anthropometric data (weight, height, waist circumference), biochemical and clinical parameters (total cholesterol, ldl-c, hdl-c, triglyceride, fasting glucose, insulin, homeostasis model to assess insulin resistance - homa-ir), leptin, homocysteine and blood pressure. the cut points used for identification of abdominal fat were waist and whtr values >90th percentile. results: teenagers with abdominal obesity presented greater values of triglycerides (except for whtr), insulin, homa-ir, leptin and systolic and diastolic blood pressure, while the hdl-c was reduced in the group with waist circumference >90th percentile, however without statistical significance (p=0.052). conclusions: the present study showed that waist and whtr are useful measures to identify female adolescents with a high cardiovascular risk, however the waist circumference presented a better performance.