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Diabetes Technol Ther. 2011 May;13(5):557-61. doi: 10.1089/dia.2010.0195. Epub 2011 Mar 15.

Developing an objective evaluation method to estimate diabetes risk in community-based settings.

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St Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, New York, USA.



Exercise interventions often aim to affect abdominal obesity and glucose tolerance, two significant risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Because of limited financial and clinical resources in community and university-based environments, intervention effects are often measured with interviews or questionnaires and correlated with weight loss or body fat indicated by body bioimpedence analysis (BIA). However, self-reported assessments are subject to high levels of bias and low levels of reliability. Because obesity and body fat are correlated with diabetes at different levels in various ethnic groups, data reflecting changes in weight or fat do not necessarily indicate changes in diabetes risk. To determine how exercise interventions affect diabetes risk in community and university-based settings, improved evaluation methods are warranted.


We compared a noninvasive, objective measurement technique--regional BIA--with whole-body BIA for its ability to assess abdominal obesity and predict glucose tolerance in 39 women. To determine regional BIA's utility in predicting glucose, we tested the association between the regional BIA method and blood glucose levels.


Regional BIA estimates of abdominal fat area were significantly correlated (r = 0.554, P < 0.003) with fasting glucose. When waist circumference and family history of diabetes were added to abdominal fat in multiple regression models, the association with glucose increased further (r = 0.701, P < 0.001).


Regional BIA estimates of abdominal fat may predict fasting glucose better than whole-body BIA as well as provide an objective assessment of changes in diabetes risk achieved through physical activity interventions in community settings.

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