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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1999 Mar;23(3):246-52.

A study in the relationships between leptin, insulin, and body fat in Asian subjects.

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Department of Endocrinology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore.



To study the relationship of leptin concentrations with indices of obesity, fasting insulin, insulin resistance and lipid profiles (total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol, high density lipoprotein (HDL)- cholesterol and triglyceride) in an Asian cohort.


Cross sectional study.


A total of 133 healthy volunteers were enrolled (64 female: age: 25-61 y, body mass index (BMI): 18.7-45.1 kg/m2 and 69 male: age: 25-61 y, BMI: 19.3-35.0 kg/m2).


Weight, height, waist and hip circumferences, blood pressure, lean body mass (by bioelectric impedence analysis (BIA)), plasma leptin and lipid profiles were taken after a 10 h fast.


Percentage of body fat measured by bioelectric impedance was the strongest determinant of plasma leptin (r = 0.844, P < 0.0001). Females had higher leptin concentrations than males for the same fat mass. In a multiple linear regression model, body fat percentage, (percentage body fat* gender), hip circumference and fasting insulin were significant determinants of leptin concentration (r = 0.882, P < 0.0001).


Leptin concentration correlated closely with percentage body fat in Asian subjects. Hip circumference as a corollary for peripheral obesity, was better associated with leptin than waist circumference or waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). Distribution of fat in females tended to be peripheral and may partly explain the gender difference. Fasting insulin level and central obesity were correlated with HDL-cholesterol, triglyceride and blood pressure, while fasting leptin had little correlation with these metabolic parameters. Therefore, insulin resistance was a better guide to cardiovascular risk assessment than plasma leptin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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