The relationships between six body girths (shoulder, midarm, waist, hip, thigh, and calf) and cardiovascular risk factors (systolic and diastolic blood pressures and glucose, triglyceride, lipoprotein cholesterol, and apolipoprotein levels) were examined in 407 healthy Chinese urban workers in Taipei, Taiwan who were between 40 to 59 years old. Canonical correlation analysis revealed significant associations of upper body adiposity (shoulder, midarm, and waist firths) with cardiovascular risk factors in all subgroups assessed: men, premenopausal women, and postmenopausal women. Waist girth and hip girth were consistent and important variables, and weighted in the opposite direction. Waist-hip ratio (WHR) was the best descriptor of centralized adiposity. Centralized fat distribution was positively associated with blood pressure and glucose, triglyceride, and apolipoprotein (apo) B levels, and negatively associated with high-density-lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and apo A-I levels in this population. Body fat distribution had an effect independent of body mass index and accounted for some of the differences in triglyceride, HDL cholesterol, apo A-I, and apo B concentrations among men, premenopausal women, and postmenopausal women. Our findings in a Chinese population are similar to data from other studies in Western populations, and are consistent with the hypothesis that centralized adiposity is related to cardiovascular risk factors independent of general obesity.
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