Get access

Does sitting height ratio affect estimates of obesity prevalence among Canadian Inuit? results from the 2007–2008 Inuit health survey

Authors

  • Tracey Galloway,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Indigenous People's Nutrition and Environment, School of Dietetics and Nutrition, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    • International Polar Year Research Associate in Nutritional Anthropology, Centre for Indigenous Peoples' Nutrition and Environment, McGill University, Macdonald Campus, 21111 Lakeshore Road, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC H9X 3V9, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Marie-Ludivine Chateau-Degat,

    1. Public Health Research Unit, Centre Hospitalier, Universitaire de Québec, Quebec, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Grace M. Egeland,

    1. Centre for Indigenous People's Nutrition and Environment, School of Dietetics and Nutrition, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • T. Kue Young

    1. Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto Ontario, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Objectives:

High sitting height ratio (SHR) is a characteristic commonly associated with Inuit morphology. Inuit are described as having short leg lengths and high trunk-to-stature proportions such that cutoffs for obesity derived from European populations may not adequately describe thresholds of disease risk. Further, high SHR may help explain the reduced impact of BMI on metabolic risk factors among Inuit relative to comparison populations. This study investigates the relationship between SHR and body mass index (BMI) in Inuit.

Methods:

Subjects are 2,168 individuals (837 males and 1,331 females) from 36 Inuit communities in the Canadian Arctic. Mean age is 42.63 ± 14.86 years in males and 41.71 ± 14.83 years in females. We use linear regression to examine the association between age, sex, height, sitting height, SHR, waist circumference (WC), and BMI. We then evaluate the efficacy of the relative sitting height adjustment as a method of correcting observed BMI to a population-standardized SHR.

Results:

Mean BMI is significantly higher than among non-Inuit Canadians. Obesity prevalence is high, particularly among Inuit women. In the regression, only age and WC are significant predictors of BMI. While SHR is significantly greater than that of the US population, there is substantial agreement between overweight and obesity prevalence using observed and corrected BMI.

Conclusions:

We find no consistent relationship between SHR and BMI and suggest the unique anthropometric and metabolic profile observed in Inuit arise from factors not yet delineated. More complex anthropometric and imaging studies in Inuit are needed. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary