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Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia

Print version ISSN 1415-790X


TANIGUCHI, Cana; GIMENO, Suely Godoy Agostinho; FERREIRA, Sandra Roberta G.  and  JAPANESE-BRAZILIAN DIABETES STUDY GROUP - JBDSG. Anthropometric characteristics of Japanese-Brazilians. Rev. bras. epidemiol. [online]. 2004, vol.7, n.4, pp.423-433. ISSN 1415-790X.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of overweight and to describe some indicative anthropometric variables of body fat distribution in a population of Japanese migrants living in Brazil. METHODS: The sample consisted of 647 first- (n= 237) and second-generation (n= 410) Japanese-Brazilians of both genders, aged > 35 years, who had their anthropometric measures, blood pressure, lipid profile, and oral glucose tolerance test defined. Overweight and obesity were defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25.0-29.9 and > 30.0 kg/m2, respectively; the diagnosis of abdominal adiposity was based on waist circumference values > 94 cm in men and > 80 cm in women. Chi-square statistics and Student t test were used for data analysis. RESULTS: Forty percent of the participants showed some degree of overweight (BMI > 25 kg/m2) and the prevalence rates of abdominal adiposity were 21.5% in men and 66.7% in women. Second-generation Japanese-Brazilian men, younger than 60 years, had an android profile of fat distribution; women were more obese than men and had both android and gynaecoid patterns, which were assessed by skin fold thickness. CONCLUSION: Japanese immigrants in Brazil - who originally did not present the obese phenotype - have followed the worldwide trend of progressive weight gain toward the development of obesity. In particular, such situation has been accompanied by an increase in abdominal adiposity, possibly indicating visceral fat accumulation, triggering metabolic disorders. Our findings suggest that Japanese descendants may present predisposition to abdominal obesity, which is triggered when they are exposed to an unfavorable environment.

Keywords : Abdominal adiposity; Anthropometry; Skin fold thickness; Waist circumference; Metabolic disturbances; Westernization.

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