n Cardiovascular Journal of Africa - Associations between body fat distribution and cardiometabolic risk factors in mixed-ancestry South African women and men - cardiovascular topics

Volume 30 Number 6
  • ISSN : 1995-1892
  • E-ISSN: 1680-0745



Objective: To investigate the relationship between body fat distribution and cardiometabolic risk in mixed-ancestry South African (SA) men and women, and to explore the effect of menopausal status on these relationships in women.

Methods: In a cross-sectional study, 207 mixed-ancestry SA women and 46 men underwent measurement of body composition using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, blood pressure, oral glucose tolerance, lipid profile and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein determination. The associations between different body fat compartments and associated cardiometabolic risk factors were explored.

Results: Men had less percentage fat mass (%FM) [26.5% (25–75th percentiles: 19.9–32.5) vs 44.0% (39.8–48.6), p ≤ 0.001], but more central and less peripheral fat (both p < 0.001) than women. Post-menopausal women had greater %FM, waist and visceral adipose tissue (VAT), and less gynoid %FM than pre-menopausal women (all p ≤ 0.004). After adjusting for age and gender, VAT accounted for the greatest variance in insulin resistance (R2 = 0.27), while trunk %FM and leg %FM accounted for the greatest variance in triglyceride (R2 = 0.13) and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations (R2 = 0.14). The association between fat mass and regional subcutaneous adipose tissue and cardiometabolic risk factors differed by gender and menopausal status.

Central fat was the most significant correlate of cardiometabolic risk and lower body fat was associated with reduced risk. These relationships were influenced by gender and menopausal status.

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