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Waist circumference and obesity-related abnormalities in French and Cameroonian adults: the role of urbanization and ethnicity

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Eugene Sobngwi


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Objectives: To evaluate the effect of urbanization and ethnicity on correlations between waist circumference (WC) and obesity-related cardiovascular risk factors. Methods: 1471 rural and urban Cameroonians, and 4185 French, from community-based studies, aged >= 25 years, not treated for hypertension, diabetes and dyslipidemia participated in this study. Slopes of obesity-related abnormalities with WC were compared using an interaction term between place of residence and WC. Results: Women in urban Cameroon and men in France had significantly higher WC and BMI relative to their gender counterparts. Urban Cameroonians had higher abdominal adiposity, but lower BP and better metabolic profile than the French. WC was positively associated to all the obesity-related abnormalities in the three sites except to FPG (both genders) and blood lipids (women) in rural Cameroon. A 5cm larger WC was associated with a higher increment among urban than rural Cameroonians for diastolic blood pressure (DBP) (women, 1.95/0.63 mm Hg; men, 2.56/1.44 mm Hg), HOMA-IR (women, 0.11/0.05), fasting plasma glucose (FPG) (men, 0.09/-0.01 mmol/l) and triglycerides (women, 0.06/0.01 mmol/l; men, 0.09/0.03 mmol/l), all P<0.05. A 5cm larger WC was associated with a higher increment among urban Cameroon than French people for DBP (women, 1.95/1.28 mm Hg, P<0.01; men, 2.56/1.49 mm Hg, P<0.01), but with a lower increment for HOMA-IR (women, 0.11/0.14, P<0.05), FPG (women, 0.05/0.09 mmol/l), total cholesterol (women, 0.07/0.11 mmol/l; men, 0.10/0.13 mmol/l) and triglycerides (women, 0.06/0.11 mmol/l; men, 0.09/0.13 mmol/l) all P<0.05. Conclusion: Ethnicity and urbanization modify the association of WC with obesity-related metabolic abnormalities. WC cutoff points derived from Caucasians may not be appropriate for black Sub-Saharan Africans. International Journal of Obesity (2010) 34, 446-453; doi: 10.1038/ijo.2009.256; published online 12 January 2010

Publication metadata

Author(s): Fezeu L, Balkau B, Sobngwi E, Kengne AP, Vol S, Ducimetiere P, Mbanya JC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Obesity

Year: 2010

Volume: 34

Issue: 3

Pages: 446-453

Print publication date: 12/01/2010

ISSN (print): 0307-0565

ISSN (electronic): 1476-5497

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/ijo.2009.256


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Funder referenceFunder name
Association Diabete Risque Vasculaire
Bayer Diagnostics
Becton Dickinson
Merck Sante
Novo Nordisk
Ardix Medical
Federation Francaise de Cardiologie
La Fondation de France
Novartis Pharma
Pierre Fabre
TS3* CT92-0142European Union