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Int J Obes (Lond). 2012 Feb;36(2):304-13. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2011.84. Epub 2011 Apr 12.

Relationship between adiposity and admixture in African-American and Hispanic-American women.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.



The objective of this study was to investigate whether differences in admixture in African-American (AFA) and Hispanic-American (HA) adult women are associated with adiposity and adipose distribution.


The proportion of European, sub-Saharan African and Amerindian admixture was estimated for AFA and HA women in the Women's Heath Initiative using 92 ancestry informative markers. Analyses assessed the relationship between admixture and adiposity indices.


The subjects included 11 712 AFA and 5088 HA self-identified post-menopausal women.


There was a significant positive association between body mass index (BMI) and African admixture when BMI was considered as a continuous variable, and age, education, physical activity, parity, family income and smoking were included covariates (P<10(-4)). A dichotomous model (upper and lower BMI quartiles) showed that African admixture was associated with a high odds ratio (OR=3.27 (for 100% admixture compared with 0% admixture), 95% confidence interval 2.08-5.15). For HA, there was no association between BMI and admixture. In contrast, when waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) was used as a measure of adipose distribution, there was no significant association between WHR and admixture in AFA but there was a strong association in HA (P<10(-4); OR Amerindian admixture=5.93, confidence interval=3.52-9.97).


These studies show that: (1) African admixture is associated with BMI in AFA women; (2) Amerindian admixture is associated with WHR but not BMI in HA women; and (3) it may be important to consider different measurements of adiposity and adipose distribution in different ethnic population groups.

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