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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003 Aug;57(8):956-63.

Relation of adiposity and body fat distribution to body mass index in Australians of Aboriginal and European ancestry.

Author information

1
Menzies School of Health Research, Casuarina, NT, Australia. sunil.piers@bigpond.com

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare the relations of adiposity and body fat distribution to body mass index (BMI) in Australians of Aboriginal and European ancestry.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional volunteer samples.

SETTING:

Australian Aboriginal communities in remote central and northern Australia, urban European Australians resident in Melbourne, Australia.

SUBJECTS:

Healthy Aboriginal (130 women, 120 men) and European Australians (100 women, 47 men) with a BMI<30 kg/m(2), aged 18-35 y; all women were nonpregnant.

INTERVENTIONS:

Anthropometric variables and resistance-using a four-terminal impedance plethysmograph-were measured.

RESULTS:

Aboriginal women and men were significantly shorter and weighed less than European Australians (P<0.05). Aboriginal women had a significantly larger waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR, P<0.0005) compared to European Australian women. The sum of four skinfold thicknesses (SFT) (S4) and trunk SFT was higher in Aboriginals as compared to European Australian women (P<0.0005); however, limb SFT tended to be lower (P=0.06). On the other hand, BMI was significantly lower in Aboriginals compared to European Australian men (P=0.011), as was hip circumference (P=0.001); however, WHR was significantly (P=0.007) higher. On regression analysis, Aboriginal women and men were significantly heavier than European Australians for the same height(2)/resistance (surrogate for fat-free mass) and S4 (surrogate for subcutaneous fat); and that Aboriginal men had a significantly higher BMI (by 1.2 kg/m(2); P<0.0005) for any given S4 and height(2)/resistance values, compared to European Australian men.

CONCLUSION:

Aboriginal and European Australians have a significantly different body fat distribution and fat mass for a given body weight or BMI. Use of the World Health Organization recommended BMI ranges to determine weight status may be inappropriate in Australian Aboriginal people.

PMID:
12879090
DOI:
10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601630
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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