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Obes Res. 2005 Aug;13(8):1458-65.

Ethnic differences in visceral adipose tissue and type 2 diabetes: Filipino, African-American, and white women.

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  • 1Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.



To compare ethnic differences in visceral adipose tissue (VAT), assessed by computed tomography, and type 2 diabetes risk among 55- to 80-year-old Filipino, African-American, and white women without known cardiovascular disease.


Subjects were participants in the Rancho Bernardo Study (n = 196), the Filipino Women's Health Study (n = 181), and the Health Assessment Study of African-American Women (n = 193). Glucose and anthropometric measurements were assessed between 1995 and 2002.


African-American women had significantly higher age-adjusted BMI (29.7 kg/m(2)) and waist girth (88.1 cm) compared with Filipino (BMI, 25.5 kg/m(2); waist girth, 81.9 cm) or white (BMI: 26.0 kg/m(2); waist girth: 80.7 cm) women. However, VAT was significantly higher among Filipino (69.1 cm(3)) compared with white (62.3 cm(3); p = 0.037) or African-American (57.5 cm(3), p < 0.001) women. VAT correlated better with BMI (r = 0.69) and waist (r = 0.77) in whites, compared with Filipino (r = 0.42; r = 0.59) or African-American (r = 0.50; r = 0.56) women. Age-adjusted type 2 diabetes prevalence was significantly higher in Filipinas (32.1%) than in white (5.8%) or African-American (12.1%) women. Filipinas had higher type 2 diabetes risk compared with African Americans [adjusted odds ratio, 2.30; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.09 to 4.86] or whites (adjusted odds ratio, 7.51; 95% CI, 2.51 to 22.5) after adjusting for age, VAT, exercise, education, and alcohol intake.


VAT was highest among Filipinas despite similar BMI and waist circumference as whites. BMI and waist circumference were weaker estimates of VAT in Filipino and African-American women than in whites. Type 2 diabetes prevalence was highest among Filipino women at every level of VAT, but VAT did not explain their elevated type 2 diabetes risk.

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