Do Postmenopausal Women With NIDDM Have a Reduced Capacity to Deposit and Conserve Lower-Body Fat?

  1. Kerin O'Dea, PHD
  1. Deakin Institute of Human Nutrition, Deakin University Melbourne, Australia
  2. Department of Medicine, St. Vincent's Hospital, University of Melbourne Melbourne, Australia
  3. Cancer Epidemiology Centre, Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria Melbourne, Australia
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Professor Kerin O'Dea, Head, Nutrition and Preventive Medicine Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Monash Medical Centre, 246 Clayton Rd., Clayton, Victoria 3168, Australia. E-mail: kerin.odea{at}


OBJECTIVE To compare regional body fat distribution and sex hormone status of postmenopausal women with NIDDM with those of age- and BMI-matched normoglycemic women.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS The regional body fat distribution and sex hormone status of 42 postmenopausal women with NIDDM were compared with those of 42 normoglycemic women matched for age and BMI, who served as control subjects. Body composition was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and testosterone were measured in serum.

RESULTS Although the levels of total body fat were similar between the two groups, the women with NIDDM had significantly less lower-body fat (LBF) (P < 0.01) than the control subjects matched for age and BMI. This pattern of fat deposition in women with NIDDM was accompanied by an androgenic hormone profile, with decreased SHBG concentration and an increased free androgen index (P < 0.05 and P < 0.01, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS A reduced capacity to deposit and/or conserve LBF may be an independent factor associated with (or may be a marker of) the metabolic manifestations of the insulin resistance syndrome in women with NIDDM. The possibility that the smaller relative accumulation of LBF is a consequence of the androgenic hormonal profile should be investigated in future studies.

  • Received June 17, 1997.
  • Revision received January 8, 1998.
  • Accepted January 8, 1998.
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