Heart disease and diabetes risk factors in Pacific Island communities and associations with measures of body fat
Bell, A., Swinburn, Boyd, Simmons, D., Wang, W., Amosa, H. and Gatland, B. 2001, Heart disease and diabetes risk factors in Pacific Island communities and associations with measures of body fat, New Zealand medical journal, vol. 114, no. 1131, pp. 208-213.
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Aims. To describe the prevalence of obesity and other coronary heart disease and Type 2 diabetes risk factors by age and ethnic group in Pacific Island communities and to determine the associations between these risk factors and body mass index. Methods. Cross-sectional data from two community-based intervention projects were combined to provide anthropometric, blood sample and blood pressure data on 1175 Pacific Islands people (467 men, 708 women) aged 20 years and over from church communities in South, Central and West Auckland. Self-reported data on diabetes status and leisure-time physical activity were also collected. Results. Based on an ethnic-specific body mass index (BMI) cut-off (> 32 kg/m2), 45% of men and 66% of women were obese. The age-standardised prevalence of known diabetes was 12%. Men and women aged 40 - 60 years had the highest risk factor levels and were the most sedentary. Tongans had higher risk factor levels than Samoans. In men, BMI and waist circumference were associated (p<0.05), in the direction of greater disease risk, with blood pressure and concentrations of total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, LDLcholesterol, triglycerides, and blood glucose. In women, these associations were similar but less consistent. Conclusions. While these data are not representative for all Pacific people living in New Zealand, they do show an extremely high prevalence of obesity and significant associations between obesity and other cardiovascular risk factors. These communities warrant a very high priority as part of public health efforts to address New Zealand’s growing obesity epidemic.
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