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Int J Obes (Lond). 2007 Aug;31(8):1232-9. Epub 2007 Mar 6.

BMI, fat and muscle differences in urban women of five ethnicities from two countries.

Author information

1
Institute of Sport and Recreation Research, Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand. Elaine.rush@aut.ac.nz

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate body composition differences, especially the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and percent body fat (%BF), among five ethnic groups.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional.

SUBJECTS:

Seven hundred and twenty-one apparently healthy women aged 18-60 years (BMI: 17.4-54.0 kg/m(2)) from South Africa (SA, 201 black, 94 European) and New Zealand (NZ, 173 European, 76 Maori, 84 Pacific, 93 Asian Indian).

MEASUREMENTS:

Anthropometry, including waist circumference, and total, central and peripheral body fat, bone mineral content and total appendicular skeletal muscle mass (ASMM) derived from dual X-ray absorptiometry.

RESULTS:

Regression analysis determined that at a BMI of 30 kg/m(2), SA European women had a %BF of 39%, which corresponded to a BMI of 29 for SA black women. For a BMI of 30 kg/m(2) in NZ Europeans, equivalent to 43% body fat, the corresponding BMIs for NZ Maori, Pacific and Asian Indian women were 34, 36 and 26 kg/m(2), respectively. Central fat mass was lower in black SA than in European SA women (P<0.001). In NZ, Pacific women had the lowest central fat mass and highest ASMM, whereas Asian Indian women had the highest central fat mass, but lowest ASMM and bone mineral content.

CONCLUSIONS:

The relationship between %BF and BMI varies with ethnicity and may be due, in part, to differences in central fatness and muscularity. Use of universal BMI or waist cut-points may not be appropriate for comparison of obesity prevalence among differing ethnic groups, as they do not provide a consistent reflection of adiposity and fat distribution across ethnic groups.

PMID:
17342075
DOI:
10.1038/sj.ijo.0803576
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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