Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the association between regional body fat distribution, especially leg fat mass, and the prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) in adult populations. Methods: A total of 3,181 men and 3,827 postmenopausal women aged 50 years or older were analyzed based on Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (2008 to 2010). Body compositions including muscle mass and regional fat mass were measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Results: The odds ratios (ORs) for DM was higher with increasing truncal fat mass and arm fat mass, while it was lower with increasing leg fat mass. In a partial correlation analysis adjusted for age, leg fat mass was negatively associated with glycosylated hemoglobin in both sexes and fasting glucose in women. Leg fat mass was positively correlated with appendicular skeletal muscle mass and homeostasis model assessment of β cell. In addition, after adjusting for confounding factors, the OR for DM decreased gradually with increasing leg fat mass quartiles in both genders. When we subdivided the participants into four groups based on the median values of leg fat mass and leg muscle mass, higher leg fat mass significantly lowered the risk of DM even though they have smaller leg muscle mass in both genders (P < 0.001). Conclusion: The relationship between fat mass and the prevalence of DM is different according to regional body fat distribution. Higher leg fat mass was associated with a lower risk of DM in Korean populations. Maintaining leg fat mass may be important in preventing impaired glucose tolerance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism