East African Medical Journal

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Obesity and lipid profiles in middle aged men and women in Tanzania

M. A. Njelekela, H. Negishi, Y. Nara, T. Sato, M. Tomohiro, S. Kuga, T. Noguchi, T. Kanda, M. Yamori, Y. Matshalla, L. Jian Liu, K. Ikeda, J. Mtabaji, Y. Yamori


Objective: To examine the relationship between obesity and lipid profiles and to compare the effects of total obesity and central adiposity on lipids in three locations in Tanzania.
Design: Cross-sectional epidemiological study.
Setting: Three areas in Tanzania: Dar es Salaam (urban), Handeni (rural) and Monduli (pastoralists), in August 1998.
Subjects: Five hundred and forty five men and women from a random sample of 600 people aged 46-58 years.
Main outcome measures: Mean BMI, waist circumference, WHR, TC, HDL-C, LDL-C, TG and LDL/HDL ratio. Prevalence rates of overweight, obesity, central obesity and dyslipidaemia.
Results: As compared to men, women had higher BMl (24.7 versus 22.5 kg/m2, p<0.0001), waist circumference (92.4 versus 89.1 cm, p< 0.05), TC (4.9 versus 4.2 mmol/L, p<0.0001) and LDL-C (3.3 versus 2.6 mmol/L, p<0.0001). The urban population demonstrated higher levels of lipid factors than the rural population (TC, men 4.8 mmol/L; women 5.3 mmol/L, p<0.0001; TG, men 3.6 mmol/L; women 3.7 mmol/L, p<0.0001, LDL-C, men 2.8 mmol/L, p<0.0001). BMI and waist circumference correlated positively with serum TC, TG, and LDL-C in both genders. Stepwise regression analysis showed that BMI predicted triglyceride concentration in men (p<0.05) and women (p<0.0001). Waist circumference predicted levels of TC in women only (p<0.0001) and of LDL-C in both genders (men p<0.05, women p<0.0001). The prevalence of overweight, obesity and central obesity were significantly higher in urban than in rural areas in both men and women. Compared to lean subjects, obese men and women had significantly higher mean serum TC, TG, LDL-C and a higher prevalence of dyslipidaemia. The mean levels of TC, TG and LDL cholesterol increased across successive increases in BMI and waist circumference quintiles in both genders.
Conclusion: Subjects from the urban area had greater lipid abnormalities related to obesity than those from the rural area and that, central adiposity had a greater effect on total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol among women than was BMI.

(East African Medical Journal: 2002 79(2): 58-64)
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