American Diabetes Association
Supplements_Differences_in_body_composition_convey_a_similar_risk_of_type_2_diabetes_among_different_ethnic_groups_with_disparate_cardiometabolic_risk_–_the_HELIUS_study.pdf (304.79 kB)

Differences in Body Composition Convey a Similar Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Among Different Ethnic Groups With Disparate Cardiometabolic Risk—The HELIUS Study

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posted on 2021-05-18, 23:23 authored by Marleen Zethof, Charlotte M. Mosterd, Didier Collard, Henrike Galenkamp, Charles Agyemang, Max Nieuwdorp, Daniël H. van Raalte, Bert-Jan H. van den Born
Objective: Studies have shown a disparate association between body composition and the risk of type 2 diabetes. We assessed whether associations between differences in body composition and type 2 diabetes vary among ethnic groups with disparate cardiometabolic risk.

Research Design and Methods: We used data from the HELIUS study, including individuals aged 18-70 of African Surinamese (n=3997), South-Asian Surinamese (n=2956), Turkish (n=3546), Moroccan (n=3850), Ghanaian (n=2271) and Dutch (n=4452) origin living in Amsterdam. Type 2 diabetes was defined using the World Health Organization criteria. Logistic regression was used to assess the relation between body composition and type 2 diabetes. Waist-hip ratio, waist circumference, BMI and body fat percentage by bio-electrical impedance were used to estimate body composition.

Results: Per unit change in BMI only Ghanaian [OR 0.94 (95% CI 0.89-0.99)] and Moroccan [0.94 (0.89-0.99)] women had a smaller increase in type 2 diabetes per unit change in BMI compared to the Dutch population, while OR for body fat percentage were 0.94 (0.89-1.00) for Ghanaian, 0.93 (0.88-0.99) for Moroccan and 0.95 (0.90-1.00) for South-Asian Surinamese women. There was no interaction between WHR and ethnicity on the risk of type 2 diabetes, and there were no differences in men. WHR had the highest precision in predicting type 2 diabetes in both men (c-statistic=0.78) and women (c-statistic=0.81).

Conclusions: The association between differences in body composition and type 2 diabetes is roughly the same in all ethnic groups. WHR seems the most reliable and consistent predictor of type 2 diabetes regardless of ethnic background.


The HELIUS study is conducted by the Academic Medical Center (AMC) Amsterdam and the Public Health Services (GGD) of Amsterdam. Both organizations provided core support for HELIUS. The HELIUS study also funded by the Dutch Heart Foundation, the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), and the European Union (FP-7).


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