Ethnic and age trends for body composition in women residing in the U.S. Southwest: I. Regional fat

Katherine Thomas Thomas, Colleen S. Keller, Keith Holbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The study described regional fat distribution and anthropometric variables in an ethnically diverse sample of women (N = 143) who were between 20 and 30 (premenopausal) or 40 and 50 (premenopausal) yr of age and of normal weight for height. Measurements included 11 skinfolds (abdomen, biceps, calf, forearm, midaxillary, pectoral, subscapular, suprailiac, suprapatellar, thigh, and triceps), waist and hip circumferences, height and mass. Regional fat distribution for African American, Mexican American, and Caucasian women was described as gluteal femoral. African American women had the smallest waist-to-hip ratio, with larger absolute measures for both the waist and gluteal C than the Caucasians or Mexican Americans. Native American women had an abdominal fat distribution pattern which was explained by more fat on the abdomen rather than less fat on the gluteal-femoral area. Native Americans had a different fat distribution from the other ethnic groups. Caucasians are not a good comparison group for African Americans or Native Americans because there are large differences as indicated by effect sizes in regional fat distribution. Variation within the ethnic groups was larger than differences between the groups for most variables. The distribution within ethnic groups was biased by extreme scores; thus 50-70% of the subjects were similar regardless of ethnic group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-89
Number of pages8
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1997


  • FAT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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