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J R Soc Health. 1996 Jun;116(3):161-7.

Generalised obesity and regional adiposity in adult white and migrant Muslim males from Pakistan in Peterborough.

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Department of Biological Anthropology, University of Cambridge.


A comparative study was made of generalised obesity (body mass index; BMI) and the regional distribution of adiposity (measured as circumferences and circumference ratios) in adult White and migrant Muslim males from Pakistan in Peterborough. No significant difference in the prevalence of obesity as measured by the BMI was observed between Whites and Pakistani migrants. Although the mean BMI values were similar in both groups, they had distinctly different body fat patterning. Whites had significantly more upper body, central body and lower body adiposity compared with Pakistani migrants. They also had significantly more total fat as well as upper body:lower body, upper body:central body, and upper body: total fat indices. Within the central body, Whites had significantly more adiposity in the waist region relative to abdomen region (Waist:Abdomen ratio). However, Pakistani migrants had significantly more abdominal adiposity relative to total adiposity (Abdomen:Sum of All Circumferences ratio) than Whites. These preliminary results clearly indicate that there is a tendency for accumulation of adiposity in the abdominal region in Asian men of Pakistani origin compared with White men irrespective of the level of generalised adiposity. The health implications of body fat patterning on non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) and coronary heart disease (CHD) are well-known. The pattern of fat distribution observed in migrant Pakistani males in this study may exist in other migrant groups originating from the Indian sub-continent and could be one of the risk factors predisposing migrant Asians (persons originating from the Indian sub-continent) in Britain to develop NIDDM and CHD irrespective of their generalised (BMI) obesity. Future epidemiological studies should lay more emphasis on morphological fat patterning instead of BMI in Asian migrants in Britain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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