Anthropometric and biochemical profiles of black south african women

  • Z Hattingh
  • C.N Walsh
  • F.J Veldman
  • C.J Bester
  • O.O Oguntibeju


It has been reported that the diet of rural women in most African countries differs considerably from that of their urban counterparts, with the urban diet composed of more refined carbohydrates and fatty food. This study examines anthropometric and biochemical profiles and the association between these parameters in pre-menopausal, post-pubertal black South African women. A representative sample of 500 participants, randomly selected in Mangaung, Bloemfontein in the Free State Province, using township maps obtained from the Bloemfontein Municipality were
recruited to participate. Younger women were aged 25-34 years and older women 35- 44 years. Anthropometric and biochemical profiles were determined according to standard methods. From the original sample of 500 women, 496 were eligible to participate. Of the younger women 30.1% and of the older women 27.7% were overweight, while 23.3% of younger women and 24% of older women had a body mass index (BMI) ≥30 kg/m2, indicating obesity. Most women had a waist-hip ratio (WHR) <0.8, indicating gynoid fat distribution. The majority of women from both
age groups had a body fat percentage >25% (92.5% and 94% respectively of younger and older women). Of the younger women 6.8% and of the older women 13.8% had triglyceride (TG) levels higher than the reference range. Total cholesterol levels fell within the reference range for 79.8% of the younger women and 71.3% of the older women. Glucose and insulin levels were within reference ranges for most women of both age groups. A significant association was found between insulin sensitivity and BMI and between insulin sensitivity and TG levels in both age groups. No significant
association was found between waist circumference and elevated glucose levels in both age groups. A significant difference between insulin sensitivity and WHR was observed in the older group of women. The prevalence of overweight and obesity reported in this population may pose a potential risk for the development of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.

Keywords: Black women, anthropometric indicators, biochemical parameters, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1119-5096
print ISSN: 1119-5096