Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Body size, body composition and fat distribution: comparative analysis of European, Maori, Pacific Island and Asian Indian adults

  • Elaine C. Rush (a1), Ismael Freitas (a1) and Lindsay D. Plank (a2)
Abstract

Although there is evidence that Asian Indians, Polynesians and Europeans differ in their body fat (BF)–BMI relationships, detailed comparative analysis of their underlying body composition and build characteristics is lacking. We investigated differences in the relationships between body fatness and BMI, fat distribution, muscularity, bone mineral mass, leg length and age-related changes in body composition between these ethnic groups. Cross-sectional analysis of 933 European, Maori, Pacific Island and Asian Indian adult volunteers was performed for total and percentage of BF, abdominal fat, thigh fat, appendicular muscle mass, bone mineral content and leg length measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Asian Indian men and women (BMI of 24 and 26 kg/m2, respectively) had the same percentage of BF as Europeans with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or Pacific men and women with BMI of 34 and 35 kg/m2, respectively. Asian Indians had more fat, both total and in the abdominal region, with less lean mass, skeletal muscle and bone mineral than all other ethnic groups. Leg length was relatively longer in Pacific men and Asian and Pacific women than in other ethnic groups. In Asian Indians, abdominal fat increased with increasing age, while the percentage of BF showed little change. In the other ethnic groups, both abdominal and total BF increased with age. In conclusion, ethnic differences in fat distribution, muscularity, bone mass and leg length may contribute to ethnic-specific relationships between body fatness and BMI. The use of universal BMI cut-off points may not be appropriate for the comparison of obesity prevalence between ethnic groups.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Body size, body composition and fat distribution: comparative analysis of European, Maori, Pacific Island and Asian Indian adults
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Body size, body composition and fat distribution: comparative analysis of European, Maori, Pacific Island and Asian Indian adults
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Body size, body composition and fat distribution: comparative analysis of European, Maori, Pacific Island and Asian Indian adults
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Professor Elaine C. Rush, fax +64 9 921 9960, email elaine.rush@aut.ac.nz
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

2P Deurenberg , M Yap & WA van Staveren (1998) Body mass index and percent body fat: a meta analysis among different ethnic groups. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 22, 11641171.

3P Deurenberg , M Deurenberg Yap , J Wang , (1999) The impact of body build on the relationship between body mass index and percent body fat. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 23, 537542.

4A Luke , R Durazo-Arvizu , C Rotimi , (1997) Relation between body mass index and body fat in black population samples from Nigeria, Jamaica, and the United States. Am J Epidemiol 145, 620628.

5P Deurenberg , M Deurenberg-Yap & S Guricci (2002) Asians are different from Caucasians and from each other in their body mass index/body fat per cent relationship. Obes Rev 3, 141146.

6R Balarajan (1991) Ethnic differences in mortality from ischaemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease in England and Wales. Br Med J 302, 560564.

7PM McKeigue , B Shah & MG Marmot (1991) Relation of central obesity and insulin resistance with high diabetes prevalence and cardiovascular risk in South Asians. Lancet 337, 382386.

8D Simmons , DR Williams & MJ Powell (1991) The Coventry Diabetes Study: prevalence of diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance in Europids and Asians. Q J Med 81, 10211030.

9J Dhawan , CL Bray , R Warburton , (1994) Insulin resistance, high prevalence of diabetes, and cardiovascular risk in immigrant Asians. Genetic or environmental effect? Br Heart J 72, 413421.

12P Houghton (1990) The adaptive significance of Polynesian body form. Ann Hum Biol 17, 1932.

13IR Reid , S Cullen , BA Schooler , (1990) Calcitropic hormone levels in polynesians: evidence against their role in interracial differences in bone mass. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 70, 14521456.

16WHO Expert Consultation (2004) Appropriate body-mass index for Asian populations and its implications for policy and intervention strategies (WHO Expert Consultation). Lancet 363, 157163.

19BA Swinburn , SJ Ley , HE Carmichael , (1999) Body size and composition in Polynesians. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 23, 11781183.

22EC Rush , JH Goedecke , C Jennings , (2007) BMI, fat and muscle differences in urban women of five ethnicities from two countries. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 31, 12321239.

26M Deurenberg-Yap , G Schmidt , WA van Staveren , (2000) The paradox of low body mass index and high body fat percentage among Chinese, Malays and Indians in Singapore. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 24, 10111017.

27D Simmons & MJ Powell (1993) Metabolic and clinical characteristics of south Asians and Europeans in Coventry. Diabet Med 10, 751758.

28MA Banerji , N Faridi , R Atluri , (1999) Body composition, visceral fat, leptin, and insulin resistance in Asian Indian men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 84, 137144.

29M Deurenberg-Yap , SK Chew & P Deurenberg (2002) Elevated body fat percentage and cardiovascular risks at low body mass index levels among Singaporean Chinese, Malays and Indians. Obes Rev 3, 209215.

30NK Vikram , RM Pandey , A Misra , (2003) Non-obese (body mass index < 25 kg/m2) Asian Indians with normal waist circumference have high cardiovascular risk. Nutrition 19, 503509.

31D Simmons , CF Thompson & D Volklander (2001) Polynesians: prone to obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus but not hyperinsulinaemia. Diabet Med 18, 193198.

34J Potts & D Simmons (1994) Sex and ethnic group differences in fat distribution in young United Kingdom South Asians and Europids. J Clin Epidemiol 47, 837841.

35A Raji , EW Seely , RA Arky , (2001) Body fat distribution and insulin resistance in healthy Asian Indians and Caucasians. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 86, 53665371.

36A Ramachandran , C Snehalatha , A Kapur , (2001) High prevalence of diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance in India: National Urban Diabetes Survey. Diabetologia 44, 10941101.

37M Anjana , S Sandeep , R Deepa , (2004) Visceral and central abdominal fat and anthropometry in relation to diabetes in Asian Indians. Diabetes Care 27, 29482953.

38J Baker , R Scragg , P Metcalf , (1993) Diabetes mellitus and employment: survey of a New Zealand workforce. Diabet Med 10, 359361.

40GD Smith , R Greenwood , D Gunnell , (2001) Leg length, insulin resistance, and coronary heart disease risk: the Caerphilly Study. J Epidemiol Community Health 55, 867872.

41D Gunnell , E Whitley , MN Upton , (2003) Associations of height, leg length, and lung function with cardiovascular risk factors in the Midspan Family Study. J Epidemiol Community Health 57, 141146.

46CH Wu , S Heshka , J Wang , (2007) Truncal fat in relation to total body fat: influences of age, sex, ethnicity and fatness. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 31, 13841391.

47 AB Sopher , JC Thornton , J Wang , (2004) Measurement of percentage of body fat in 411 children and adolescents: a comparison of dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry with a four-compartment model. Pediatrics 113, 12851290.

48JC Lovejoy , JA de la Bretonne , M Klemperer , (1996) Abdominal fat distribution and metabolic risk factors: effects of race. Metabolism 45, 11191124.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

British Journal of Nutrition
  • ISSN: 0007-1145
  • EISSN: 1475-2662
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords: