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Concept: Waist-hip ratio


Obesity, typically quantified in terms of Body Mass Index (BMI) exceeding threshold values, is considered a leading cause of premature death worldwide. For given body size (BMI), it is recognized that risk is also affected by body shape, particularly as a marker of abdominal fat deposits. Waist circumference (WC) is used as a risk indicator supplementary to BMI, but the high correlation of WC with BMI makes it hard to isolate the added value of WC.

Concepts: Death, Obesity, Overweight, Adipose tissue, Body mass index, Value added, Waist-hip ratio, Body shape


What is the ideal body size and shape that we want for ourselves and our partners? What are the important physical features in this ideal? And do both genders agree on what is an attractive body? To answer these questions we used a 3D interactive software system which allows our participants to produce a photorealistic, virtual male or female body. Forty female and forty male heterosexual Caucasian observers (females mean age 19.10 years, s.d. 1.01; 40 males mean age 19.84, s.d. 1.66) set their own ideal size and shape, and the size and shape of their ideal partner using the DAZ studio image manipulation programme. In this programme the shape and size of a 3D body can be altered along 94 independent dimensions, allowing each participant to create the exact size and shape of the body they want. The volume (and thus the weight assuming a standard density) and the circumference of the bust, waist and hips of these 3D models can then be measured. The ideal female body set by women (BMI = 18.9, WHR = 0.70, WCR = 0.67) was very similar to the ideal partner set by men, particularly in their BMI (BMI = 18.8, WHR = 0.73, WCR = 0.69). This was a lower BMI than the actual BMI of 39 of the 40 women. The ideal male body set by the men (BMI = 25.9, WHR = 0.87, WCR = 0.74) was very similar to the ideal partner set by the women (BMI = 24.5, WHR = 0.86, WCR = 0.77). This was a lower BMI than the actual BMI of roughly half of the men and a higher BMI than the other half. The results suggest a consistent preference for an ideal male and female body size and shape across both genders. The results also suggest that both BMI and torso shape are important components for the creation of the ideal body.

Concepts: Male, Female, Gender, Sex, Woman, Waist-hip ratio, 3D computer graphics, Female body shape


Aspects of the female body may be attractive because they signal evolutionary fitness. Greater body fatness might reflect greater potential to survive famines, but individuals carrying larger fat stores may have poor health and lower fertility in non-famine conditions. A mathematical statistical model using epidemiological data linking fatness to fitness traits, predicted a peaked relationship between fatness and attractiveness (maximum at body mass index (BMI) = 22.8 to 24.8 depending on ethnicity and assumptions). Participants from three Caucasian populations (Austria, Lithuania and the UK), three Asian populations (China, Iran and Mauritius) and four African populations (Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and Senegal) rated attractiveness of a series of female images varying in fatness (BMI) and waist to hip ratio (WHR). There was an inverse linear relationship between physical attractiveness and body fatness or BMI in all populations. Lower body fat was more attractive, down to at least BMI = 19. There was no peak in the relationship over the range we studied in any population. WHR was a significant independent but less important factor, which was more important (greater r (2)) in African populations. Predictions based on the fitness model were not supported. Raters appeared to use body fat percentage (BF%) and BMI as markers of age. The covariance of BF% and BMI with age indicates that the role of body fatness alone, as a marker of attractiveness, has been overestimated.

Concepts: Nutrition, Obesity, Adipose tissue, Body mass index, Body fat percentage, Waist-hip ratio, Body shape, Physical attractiveness


There is accumulating evidence of condition-dependent mate choice in many species, that is, individual preferences varying in strength according to the condition of the chooser. In humans, for example, people with more attractive faces/bodies, and who are higher in sociosexuality, exhibit stronger preferences for attractive traits in opposite-sex faces/bodies. However, previous studies have tended to use only relatively simple, isolated measures of rater attractiveness. Here we use 3D body scanning technology to examine associations between strength of rater preferences for attractive traits in opposite-sex bodies, and raters' body shape, self-perceived attractiveness, and sociosexuality. For 118 raters and 80 stimuli models, we used a 3D scanner to extract body measurements associated with attractiveness (male waist-chest ratio [WCR], female waist-hip ratio [WHR], and volume-height index [VHI] in both sexes) and also measured rater self-perceived attractiveness and sociosexuality. As expected, WHR and VHI were important predictors of female body attractiveness, while WCR and VHI were important predictors of male body attractiveness. Results indicated that male rater sociosexuality scores were positively associated with strength of preference for attractive (low) VHI and attractive (low) WHR in female bodies. Moreover, male rater self-perceived attractiveness was positively associated with strength of preference for low VHI in female bodies. The only evidence of condition-dependent preferences in females was a positive association between attractive VHI in female raters and preferences for attractive (low) WCR in male bodies. No other significant associations were observed in either sex between aspects of rater body shape and strength of preferences for attractive opposite-sex body traits. These results suggest that among male raters, rater self-perceived attractiveness and sociosexuality are important predictors of preference strength for attractive opposite-sex body shapes, and that rater body traits -with the exception of VHI in female raters- may not be good predictors of these preferences in either sex.

Concepts: Male, Female, Sex, Gamete, Waist-hip ratio, Body shape, Female body shape, Physical attractiveness


BACKGROUND: Research involving more representative samples is needed to extend our understanding of the broader impact of obesity in hip or knee joint disease (arthritis and OA) beyond clinical settings. Although population-based research has been conducted in the United States, how these findings translate to other countries is unclear. Using a national approach, this study explored associations between obesity and the burden of hip and knee joint disease in Australia (in terms of prevalence, pain, stiffness, function, Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) and disease severity). METHODS: A random sample of 5000 Australians (>=39 years) from the federal electoral roll was invited to complete a mailed questionnaire to identify doctor-diagnosed hip arthritis, hip OA, knee arthritis and knee OA and evaluate the burden of these conditions. Validated questionnaires included the WOMAC Index, Assessment of Quality of Life instrument and Multi-Attribute Prioritisation Tool. Body Mass Index (BMI) was classified into underweight/normal weight (<=24.99 kg/m2), overweight (25--29.99) or obese (>=30). Multiple logistic regression was used to estimate odds of arthritis and OA, with demographic and socioeconomic variables included in the models. Associations between BMI and other variables were investigated using analysis of covariance, with adjustment for age and sex. RESULTS: Data were available from 1,157 participants (23%). Overweight participants had increased odds of knee arthritis (adjusted OR (AOR) 1.87, 95%CI 1.14-3.07) and knee OA (AOR 2.11, 95%CI 1.07-4.15). Obesity was associated with higher prevalence of hip arthritis (AOR 2.18, 95%CI 1.17-4.06), knee arthritis (AOR 5.47, 95%CI 3.35-8.95) and knee OA (AOR 7.35, 95%CI 3.85-14.02). Of those with arthritis or OA, obese individuals reported more pain (for hip arthritis, hip OA and knee OA), greater stiffness (for hip arthritis, knee arthritis and knee OA), worse function (all diagnoses), lower HRQoL (for hip arthritis and hip OA) and greater disease severity (all diagnoses). CONCLUSIONS: This national study has demonstrated that the odds of arthritis and OA was up to 7 times higher for obese individuals, compared with those classified as underweight/normal weight. Concurrent obesity and joint disease had a marked impact on several key aspects of wellbeing, highlighting the need for public health interventions.

Concepts: Cancer, Obesity, Quality of life, Osteoarthritis, Body mass index, Gout, Waist-hip ratio, Body shape


BACKGROUND: This study sought to investigate a possible correlation between the intestinal microbiota, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, and obesity in Kazakh school children, aged 7–13 (n = 175). RESULTS: Obese subjects had significantly greater systolic blood pressure, waist and hip circumference, as well as HOMA-IR as compared to normal and overweight participants. In addition, Bacteroides copy number and Bact/Firm ratios were significantly lower in the obese group as compared to the normal and overweight groups (P < 0.0167). This difference is only significant in girls, but not in boys when stratified by gender. Furthermore, a negative correlation between BMI and Bacteroidetes copy number (r = -0.18, P = 0.017) as well as Bact/Firm (r = -0.22, P = 0.003) was observed. CONCLUSION: An association between reduced gut Bacteroidetes and Bact/Firm ratio with obesity in female Kazakh children was identified. Further studies are necessary to elucidate the mechanism behind these changes as well as the value of determining their presence for predicting obesity.

Concepts: Bacteria, Gut flora, Nutrition, Myocardial infarction, Hypertension, Obesity, Blood pressure, Waist-hip ratio


BACKGROUND: Data about prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux diseases (GERD) from Asian populations are still scarce. To provide additional data on prevalence of GERD and investigate its potential risk factors, we performed this cross-sectional study in the Taizhou Retiree Cohort. METHODS: After physical examination, the participants were asked whether they suffered with heartburn or acid regurgitation in the last 12 months by trained interviewers, and if yes, the severity and frequency of the symptoms were recorded. Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the associations of obesity and other risk factors with GERD were derived from logistic regression models. RESULTS: 8831 retirees completed the questionnaire and physical examination. In total 150 (1.7%) reported the symptoms occurring at least once per week within the last 12 months before the interview. Compared with subjects without GERD, having a history of diabetes mellitus (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.4-3.5), hypertension (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.0-2.1), gastritis (OR 8.2, 95% CI 5.8-11.5), peptic ulcer (OR 3.3, 95% CI 1.8-6.1) and high triglyceride level (>=1.81mmol/L) (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.2-3.4) were associated with a significantly increased risk of GERD. However, there was no significant association between body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio or waist alone, smoking, consumption of alcohol & tea, and the occurrence of reflux symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Compared with Western populations, the prevalence of GERD in this Chinese retiree cohort is low. A history of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, gastritis, peptic ulcer or hypertriglyceridaemia increases GERD risk in this population.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Diabetes mellitus, Obesity, Body mass index, Metabolic syndrome, Gastroesophageal reflux disease, Peptic ulcer, Waist-hip ratio


Objective:Low-density lipoprotein-related receptor protein 1 (LRP1) is a multi-functional endocytic receptor and signaling molecule that is expressed in adipose and the hypothalamus. Evidence for a role of LRP1 in adiposity is accumulating from animal and in vitro models, but data from human studies are limited. The study objectives were to evaluate (i) relationships between LRP1 genotype and anthropometric traits, and (ii) whether these relationships were modified by dietary fatty acids.Design and methods:We conducted race/ethnic-specific meta-analyses using data from 14 studies of US and European whites and 4 of African Americans to evaluate associations of dietary fatty acids and LRP1 genotypes with body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and hip circumference, as well as interactions between dietary fatty acids and LRP1 genotypes. Seven single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of LRP1 were evaluated in whites (N up to 42 000) and twelve SNPs in African Americans (N up to 5800).Results:After adjustment for age, sex and population substructure if relevant, for each one unit greater intake of percentage of energy from saturated fat (SFA), BMI was 0.104 kg m(-2) greater, waist was 0.305 cm larger and hip was 0.168 cm larger (all P<0.0001). Other fatty acids were not associated with outcomes. The association of SFA with outcomes varied by genotype at rs2306692 (genotyped in four studies of whites), where the magnitude of the association of SFA intake with each outcome was greater per additional copy of the T allele: 0.107 kg m(-2) greater for BMI (interaction P=0.0001), 0.267 cm for waist (interaction P=0.001) and 0.21 cm for hip (interaction P=0.001). No other significant interactions were observed.Conclusion:Dietary SFA and LRP1 genotype may interactively influence anthropometric traits. Further exploration of this, and other diet x genotype interactions, may improve understanding of interindividual variability in the relationships of dietary factors with anthropometric traits.International Journal of Obesity advance online publication, 29 January 2013; doi:10.1038/ijo.2012.215.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Nutrition, Obesity, Fat, Body mass index, Waist-hip ratio, African American


“A Body Shape Index” (ABSI) is a recently proposed index that standardizes waist circumference for body mass index (BMI) and height. This study aims to: (a) examine if the ABSI scaling exponents for standardizing waist circumference for BMI and height are valid in middle-aged and older Indonesian population, and (b) compare the association between incident hypertension and ABSI and other anthropometric measures.

Concepts: Obesity, Mass, Body mass index, Waist-hip ratio, Body shape


Objective. To study associations between dairy fat intake and development of central obesity. Design. A prospective population-based cohort study with two surveys 12 years apart. Setting. Nine municipalities selected from different parts of Sweden representing the rural areas in the country. Subjects. 1782 men (farmers and non-farmers) aged 40-60 years at baseline participated in a baseline survey (participation rate 76%) and 1589 men participated at the follow-up. 116 men with central obesity at baseline were excluded from the analyses. Main outcome measures. Central obesity at follow-up defined as waist hip ratio ≥ 1. Results. 197 men (15%) developed central obesity during follow-up. A low intake of dairy fat at baseline (no butter and low fat milk and seldom/never whipping cream) was associated with a higher risk of developing central obesity (OR 1.53, 95% CI 1.05-2.24) and a high intake of dairy fat (butter as spread and high fat milk and whipping cream) was associated with a lower risk of central obesity (OR 0.52, 95% CI 0.33-0.83) as compared with medium intake (all other combinations of spread, milk, and cream) after adjustment for intake of fruit and vegetables, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, age, education, and profession. The associations between dairy fat intake and central obesity were consistent across body mass index categories at baseline. Conclusion. A high intake of dairy fat was associated with a lower risk of central obesity and a low dairy fat intake was associated with a higher risk of central obesity.

Concepts: Cohort study, Nutrition, Obesity, Milk, Body mass index, Butter, Waist-hip ratio, Cream