Association of Total and Central Adiposity Measures with Fasting Insulin in a Biracial Population of Young Adults with Normal Glucose Tolerance: the CARDIA Study


Kaiser Permanente Division of Research. 3505 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611. E-mail:


SIDNEY, STEPHEN, CORA E. LEWIS, JAMES O. HILL, CHARLES P. QUESENBERRY, JR, ELIZABETH R. STAMM, ANN SCHERZINGER, KIMBERLY TOLAN, AND BRUCE ETTINGER. Association of total and central adiposity measures with fasting insulin in a biracial population of young adults with normal glucose tolerance: the CARDIA study. Obes Res.

Objective: To determine the association of computed tomography (CT)-measured visceral adipose tissue (AT) and other measures of adiposity with fasting insulin in a biracial (African American and Caucasian) study population of young adults.

Research Methods and Procedures: The study population consisted of 251 young adults with normal glucose tolerance (NGT), ages 28–40 years, who were volunteers from the Birmingham, Alabama, and Oakland, California centers of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study.

Results: In regression models with total adiposity measures (body mass index or dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry-measured percent fat), visceral AT (measured as a cross-sectional area in cm2) was generally a stronger predictor of insulin than overall adiposity in all race/gender groups (partial correlation coefficients ranging from 0. 31 to 0. 47) except for black men, in whom the associations were nonsignificant. Partial correlation coefficients between waist circumference and insulin, controlling for percent fat, were nearly identical to those between visceral AT and insulin in women and in white men. Analyses performed on 2060 NGT CARDIA subjects who were not in this study of visceral AT showed significant correlations of waist circumference with insulin in all racelgender groups, including black men, and that black men in the visceral AT study group were significantly leaner than other black male CARDIA subjects.

Discussion: We conclude that visceral AT was associated with fasting insulin in NGT participants in three of the four race/gender groups (black men excepted) and that waist circumference was a good surrogate for visceral AT in examining associations of central adiposity with fasting insulin.