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Acta Diabetol. 1996 Sep;33(3):198-204.

Relationship between anthropometric indices of body fat distribution and basal energy metabolism in healthy Maltese women.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Malta (Medical School), St Luke's Hospital, G'Mangia, Malta.


A sample taken from a population (Maltese) with a high incidence of the metabolic complications of central obesity was studied to determine: (1) whether the standard Schofield equations adequately predict the basal metabolic rate (BMR) in this population; (2) whether the Maltese have a greater tendency for central obesity compared with other populations; (3) whether the distribution of body fat influences energy expenditure and fuel selection. Healthy women responding to a public advertisement were sampled randomly from the Maltese population. Correlation analysis and analysis of variance were used to study relationships between BMR and body composition. Anthropometric parameters (including body fat distribution indices, bioimpedance) and BMR were measured after an overnight fast. Six percent of the respondent were excluded because of recent illness, instability of diet or of body weight. Fifty subjects attended a clinic at the Medical School. The distribution of excess fat between central and peripheral areas in the Maltese population was similar to that reported for the British population. The Waist-hip ratio (WHR) reflected neither basal heat production (BMR) nor the contribution of fat oxidation to BMR. The Schofield equations systematically underestimated BMR by 5.4% +/- 0.86% (P < 0.05). The study suggests a limitation in using the Schofield equations for predicting BMR in the female Maltese population studied. It also suggests that the fat distribution between central and peripheral areas in this population has no effect on BMR.

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