The relationships of abdominal obesity, hyperinsulinemia and saturated fat intake to serum lipid levels: The Normative Aging Study


Abdominal obesity and hyperinsulinemia are associated with abnormalities in lipid metabolism and are important risk factors for coronary artery disease. Because hyperinsulinemia frequently accompanies abdominal obesity, it is unclear whether each is independently related to lipid abnormalities. Dietary saturated fat may influence these associations since it is associated with elevated lipid levels, obesity and hyperinsulinemia. Abdominal obesity (indexed as abdomen-to-hip circumference ratio), serum insulin level and dietary saturated fat intake were examined in relation to serum levels of lipids and lipoproteins in 878 male participants of the Normative Aging Study. Abdomen-to-hip ratio and insulin level were inversely related to high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) (r = -0.17 and -0.21, respectively), and positively related to triglycerides (r = 0.25 and 0.36, respectively). Saturated fat intake was positively related to body mass index (r = 0.20), abdomen-to-hip ratio (r = 0.13), and insulin level (r = 0.10). In multiple linear regression models, abdomen-to-hip ratio was positively related to triglycerides and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) after adjusting for the effects of body mass index, alcohol intake, age, cigarette smoking and physical activity level, but was not significantly related to HDL-C. When serum insulin level was included as a covariate, abdomen-to-hip ratio remained significantly related to LDL-C and triglycerides, although its relationship with triglycerides was attenuated. Insulin level remained inversely related to HDL-C and triglycerides in multivariate models which adjusted for the effects of abdomen-to-hip ratio and BMI. Further adjustment for saturated fat intake did not significantly influence any of the relationships of abdomen-to-hip ratio or insulin level with the lipid variables. These cross-sectional data suggest that abdominal obesity is related to triglycerides and LDL-C, although part of the influence of abdominal obesity appears to be mediated by hyperinsulinemia. Saturated fat intake is associated with abdominal obesity and hyperinsulinemia but does not appear to influence the relationships of obesity and hyperinsulinemia with lipids and lipoproteins.

Publication Title

International Journal of Obesity

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