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Rev Saude Publica. 2002 Feb;36(1):4-11.

[Weight excess and abdominal fat in the metabolic syndrome among Japanese-Brazilians].

[Article in Portuguese]

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Departamento de Medicina, Escola Paulista de Medicina, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brasil.



Obesity, especially abdominal, has been associated with cardiovascular risk factors such as dyslipidemia, hypertension and diabetes mellitus (DM). The importance of these risk factors among Japanese-Brazilians was previously shown, although obesity is not a typical characteristic of Japanese migrants. In this study the prevalence of weight excess and central adiposity (CA) among Japanese-Brazilians and their association with metabolic disorders was evaluated.


A sample of 530 1st and 2nd generation Japanese-Brazilians (aged 40 - 79 years) went through anthropometric and blood pressure measurements, lipid profile and oral glucose tolerance tests. The prevalence rate (point and confidence interval) of overweight was calculated using a cut-off value of >26.4 kg/m2. CA diagnosis was based on waist-to-hip circumference ratio (WHR): greater-than-or-equal 0.85 and 0.95 in women and men, respectively.


The prevalence of weight excess was 22.4% (CI 95% 20.6 - 28.1), and CA was 67.0% (95% CI 63.1 - 70.9). In addition to higher prevalence of DM, hypertension and dyslipidemia, stratifying by BMI and WHR, people with weight excess and CA revealed a poorer metabolic profile: blood pressure levels were significantly higher among those with weight excess with or without CA; CA individuals had higher glucose, triglycerides, total and LDL cholesterol, and lower HDL than those without weight excess or CA; fasting insulinemia was significantly higher among subjects with weight excess (with or without CA) than among those without weight excess or CA.


Comparing subgroups with and without CA supports the hypothesis that abdominal fat accumulation represents a risk factor for insulin resistance-related diseases, even among Japanese descendants. The increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome among Japanese migrants could be attributed to visceral fat deposition, which has been implicated in the genesis of insulin resistance.

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