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Published Online: 29 October 2015

Longitudinal Changes in Body Fat and Its Distribution in Relation to Cardiometabolic Risk in Black South African Women

Publication: Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders
Volume 13, Issue Number 9


Background: Ethnic differences in body composition and cardiometabolic risk have been reported in cross-sectional studies. This study aimed to investigate changes in body composition over 5.5 years, and its association with cardiometabolic risk in premenopausal black South African (SA) women.
Methods: Changes in body composition and body fat distribution (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry and computerized tomography), fasting glucose, insulin, and lipid concentrations, were measured in 63 black SA women at baseline (age: 27 ± 8 years), and 5.5 years later.
Results: Body weight and fat mass (FM) increased by 6.9 ± 9.9 kg and 4.3 ± 6.9 kg, respectively, over the 5.5 years with a relative (%FM) increase in central and decrease in peripheral FM (all P < 0.05). Fasting glucose and lipid concentrations (except HDL-cholesterol) increased over the follow-up period (all P < 0.05). Both baseline and changes in body fat distribution were associated with cardiometabolic risk. Independent of baseline age, FM and insulin sensitivity, baseline trunk:leg was associated with reduced insulin sensitivity at follow-up (Matsuda index; β = −0.41, P = 0.002). Increasing trunk:gynoid ratio was associated with higher plasma insulin levels (β = 0.31, P = 0.023) and reduced insulin sensitivity (Matsuda index; β = −0.52, P < 0.001) at follow-up.
Conclusions: Weight gain in free-living black SA women over 5.5 years was associated with a centralization of fat mass, which predicted an increase in cardiometabolic risk.

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Published In

cover image Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders
Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders
Volume 13Issue Number 9November 2015
Pages: 381 - 388
PubMed: 26313235


Published in print: November 2015
Published online: 29 October 2015
Published ahead of print: 27 August 2015


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Sarah Chantler, MSc
Division for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Department of Human Biology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
Kasha Dickie, MSc
Division for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Department of Human Biology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
Lisa K. Micklesfield, PhD
Division for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Department of Human Biology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
South African Medical Research Council/University of the Witwatersrand Developmental Pathways for Health Research Unit, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Julia H. Goedecke, PhD
Division for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Department of Human Biology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
Non-Communicable Disease Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Parow, South Africa.


Address correspondence to:Julia Goedecke, PhDNon-Communicable Disease Research UnitSouth African Medical Research CouncilFrancie van Zijl DriveParowvalleiCape Town 7505South Africa
E-mail: [email protected]

Author Disclosure Statement

No competing financial interests exist.

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