Increased body fat percentage (BFP) and metabolic syndrome (MS) are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Triceps skinfold thickness (SFT) and suprailiac SFT are easier to measure than waist circumference (WC) or calculating body mass index (BMI) and if found to be predictive of MS and BFP, can be used to identify patients with high cardiovascular risk.
To compare triceps and suprailiac SFT against WC and BMI in predicting BFP and/or MS in young adults with diabetes.
A sample of 1007 Sri Lankan adults with diabetes (age 20- 45 years) were randomly selected and their anthropometric measurements including SFT in triceps, biceps, subscapular and suprailiac areas were obtained. BFP was measured using bio impedance analysis. Correlation of BFP and components of MS with anthropometric measurements were tested using linear regression analysis.
Overall 42.3% were males. Mean age was 36.6 (±5.8) years. MS was present in 59.5% of patients. Mean BFP was 28.6% (±8.3%). Mean WC, BMI, triceps and suprailiac SFT were 87.2 cm, 24.6 kg/m2, 15.6mm and 21.5mm respectively. BFP showed highest correlation with SFT at triceps (R=0.67, p<0.01) followed by BMI (R=0.4, p<0.01) and WC (R=0.22, p<0.01). Out of the SFTs triceps (R=0.67, p<0.01) and biceps (R=0.61, p<0.01) regions showed the strongest correlation followed by SFT of suprailliac (R=0.42, p<0.01) and subscapular (R=0.4, p<0.01) regions. All anthropometric measurements showed less correlation with MS than with BFP. Out of the SFTs, suprailiac SFT correlated most with MS (R=0.259, p<0.01) while WC (R=0.263, p<0.01) and BMI (R=0.256, p<0.01) showed similar correlation.
Triceps SFT is a better indicator of BFP than BMI or WC. Suprailiac SFT is equally good as BMI and WC in predicting metabolic syndrome. Triceps and suprailiac SFT can be used as a quick screening tool to identify high risk young adults with diabetes.