, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 657-660
Date: 03 Mar 2005

Fat distribution is strongly associated with plasma glucose levels and diabetes in Thai adults—the InterASIA study

Abstract

Aims/hypothesis

Asian populations have high risks of disease at low levels of BMI and weight, possibly because of high rates of abdominal obesity. In such populations, waist circumference and WHR (measures of fat distribution) may better capture the effects of adiposity.

Methods

The strengths of the associations between different measures of adiposity and glucose levels and diabetes were investigated in the Thai component of the International Collaborative Study of Cardiovascular Disease in Asia (InterASIA), a multi-stage cross-sectional survey of risk factors in Thai adults aged 35 years or over. The analyses included 5,302 men and women.

Results

All four measures of adiposity were positively associated with plasma glucose and the odds of having diabetes (all p<0.001), but the associations were stronger for measures of fat distribution. The age- and sex-adjusted fasting plasma glucose level increased linearly across each fifth of weight, BMI, waist and WHR by 0.12 mmol/l (SE 0.02), 0.12 (0.02), 0.17 (0.02) and 0.16 (0.02), respectively. The corresponding odds ratios for diabetes were 1.41 (95% CI 1.27–1.56), 1.43 (1.28–1.59), 1.64 (1.47–1.83) and 1.70 (1.52–1.90), respectively. Multivariate analyses incorporating different combinations of adiposity measures, as well as analyses of receiver operating characteristics, confirmed the greater predictive value of measures of fat distribution.

Conclusions/interpretation

Waist circumference and WHR were more strongly associated with fasting plasma glucose and diabetes than were weight and BMI. These measures of abdominal adiposity are likely to be more useful for assessing the obesity-related risk of cardiovascular diseases in Asian populations.

*Members listed in Acknowledgements