Data from a cross-sectional study of cardiovascular disease risk factors in 962 US and 827 Japanese male telephone company executives were used to determine the associations of skinfold thickness measurements (abdominal, subscapular, triceps, ulnar) with blood pressure, blood glucose, serum cholesterol, and serum triglycerides. These associations were assessed within each group of executives and were compared between the groups. Most skinfolds showed association with risk factors in univariate regression. After adjusting for age and body mass index, the abdominal skinfold continued to be significantly associated with blood pressure and triglycerides in both groups, while the subscapular skinfold showed associations only with triglycerides. After adjustment, the peripheral skinfolds showed no association with risk factors in the US men, however, in the Japanese men the ulnar skinfold continued to be associated with blood pressure. These findings suggest that abdominal and ulnar skinfold measurement may be useful in adjusting for the effect of obesity on coronary heart disease risk in epidemiological studies.
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