Excess fat in the abdomen but not general obesity is associated with poorer metabolic and cardiovascular health in premenopausal and postmenopausal Asian women
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Objectives: To examine the associations of various metabolites and hormones and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with obesity. Methods: This is a cross-sectional study of 1326 Singaporean women. A DXA-derived percent body fat (PBF) of =35% and percent abdominal fat (PAbdF) of > 21.8% were used, respectively, to define women with general (GOb) and abdominal (AbdOb) obesity. Results: Higher levels of insulin and glucose, lower levels of HDL, higher levels of TC/HDL and HOMA values, and different levels of some hormones were noted only in the women with abdominal, and not general obesity. The incidence of general and abdominal obesity was higher in postmenopausal women with or without HRT, except that those who were on conjugated estradiol-only HRT had no increase in the incidence of general obesity compared with premenopausal women. Conclusions: Abdominal obesity is associated with insulin resistance and with higher risks of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases, whereas general obesity is not. Abdominal obesity may predispose to a higher risk of diabetes. The onset of the menopause tends to increase the incidence of general and abdominal obesity, except that postmenopausal women on conjugated estradiol HRT appear to be relatively protected from general obesity.
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