Subscapular skinfold thickness and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and hypertension

  • Ruiz-Alejos A & al.
  • Public Health Nutr
  • 4 Jun 2019

  • curated by Sarfaroj Khan
  • UK Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • Study suggests a strong association between subscapular and overall fat obesity assessed through skinfold thickness and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and hypertension (HT).

Why this matters

  • Findings provide evidence favouring the utility of measuring skinfolds as a laboratory-free marker for the risk of T2DM in non-specialist and low-resource settings.

Study design

  • 988 participants completed baseline study and a total of 785 and 690 participants were included in the T2DM and HT incidence analysis, respectively, using data from the ongoing PERU MIGRANT study.
  • Excess BF assessed through skinfold thickness was measured in bicipital, tricipital, subscapular and suprailiac areas of the body.
  • Main outcomes: incidence of T2DM and HT.
  • The BF% was measured using the Durnin-Womersley formula and SIRI equation.
  • Funding: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and others.

Key results

  • During median follow-up of 7.6±1.3 years (leading to 6068 person-years), the overall incidence of T2DM was 1.0 (95% CI, 0.8-1.3) per 100 person-years.
  • Bicipital (risk ratio [RR], 2.75; 95% CI, 1.39-5.41) and subscapular (RR, 6.40; 95% CI, 2.52-16.23) skinfolds were associated with a higher risk of developing T2DM.
  • During median follow-up of 6.5±2.5 years (leading to 4850 person-years), the overall incidence of HT was 2.6 (95% CI, 2.2-3.1) per 100 person-years.
  • Subscapular fat (RR, 2.35; 95% CI, 1.46-3.78) and overall fat obesity (RR, 2.85; 95% CI, 1.64-4.96) were associated with increased risk of developing HT.
  • Population attributable fraction for subscapular skinfold was 73.6% and 39.2% for T2DM and HT, respectively.

Limitations

  • Potential misclassification of T2DM cases.
  • Selection bias.