August 2, 2013

A New Body Shape for Diabetes and Obesity


body-shapeAre you an apple or a pear? Forget the waist-to-hip ratio. Apparently a new ratio is in town and taking measurements.  A study published in PLoS One details the new body shape measurement that’s telling the diabetes story.

Depending on your body shape, body weight and waist circumference have been used to estimate obesity but now researchers are finding a better way to determine these risk of diabetes. The study analyses if the trunk to leg volume ratio is associated with diabetes and mortality.

The trunk to leg volume ratio was gathered from participants associated to diabetes, metabolic disturbances, and mortality. These associations were then sorted by BMI, gender, and race.

The prevalence of pre-diabetes and diabetes increased with age, BMI, triglycerides, blood pressure, and decreased HDL level. After adjusting for metabolic disturbances, the participants with the greatest trunk to leg volume ratio highly associated with diabetes, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, low HDL, metabolic syndrome, and mortality.

Additionally, trunk to leg volume ratio was the strongest independent measure associated with diabetes, even after adjusting for BMI and waist circumference. Even among those with normal BMI, those with the greatest trunk to leg volume ratio had a higher likelihood of death than those who had lesser trunk to leg volume ratio Overall, trunk to leg volume ratio is driven by competing mechanisms of fat cells and lean mass.

A high ratio of trunk to leg volume showed a strong association to diabetes and mortality that was independent of total and regional fat distributions.

The idea of an apple or a pear is a simple metaphor for a simple comparison. Today’s measure of health cannot be viewed in a fruit basket. In fact, these measurements are not about the fruit, at all. It’s about the girth of the tree and its roots.

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