Determinants of central adiposity: An iranian perspective

Leila Azadbakht, Ahmad Esmaillzadeh, Pamela J. Surkan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Although obesity is a major health problem, most recent studies suggest that the pattern of body fat distribution is more important than overall body mass. Abdominal obesity has been associated with a substantially elevated risk of chronic diseases and mortality. While most risk factors are shared worldwide, both non-dietary and dietary determinants of abdominal adiposity can vary across populations. Iranian studies reveal that physical activity, unemployment, menopause, marriage, smoking and depression are the most important non-dietary factors. Regarding the dietary determinants of central adiposity, three classes of exposure include dietary patterns, food groups/ foods, and nutrient intake. According to studies in Iran, a healthy dietary pattern mainly based on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and unhydrogenated vegetable oil, is inversely associated with central adiposity. Also, based on Iranian studies, dairy consumption as well as fruit and vegetable intake are inversely correlated with central adiposity as well as with metabolic syndrome, for which one of the major components is large waist circumference. Hydrogenated vegetable oil is directly correlated with central adiposity and with metabolic syndrome both in Iranians and some other populations. Factors that appear to be protective for central fat accumulation among Iranians include high fiber, vitamin C and calcium consumption. Insulin resistance is one of the major problems related to central adiposity; therefore, individuals with central adiposity are at risk for other diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Being physically active and consuming a diet with a low glycemic index that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and unhydrogenated vegetable oil are recommended to prevent central adiposity for Iranian population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Anthropometry
Subtitle of host publicationPhysical Measures of Human Form in Health and Disease
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781441917881
ISBN (Print)9781441917874
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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