To examine the associations among blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), intra-abdominal fat, and fasting plasma insulin levels among nondiabetic subjects.


Second- (Nisei, n = 290) and third- (Sansei, n = 230) generation Japanese-American subjects without non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) were selected from a community-based study of NIDDM incidence and complications. A cross-sectional comparison of measures obtained at the baseline visit was performed. Intra-abdominal fat (IAF) area was assessed using computed tomography. Associations among blood pressure, fasting insulin, and adiposity measures were assessed by comparison of mean values and multiple linear regression analysis.

RESULTS— Hypertensive men and women had significantly higher mean IAF areas. Fasting insulin levels were somewhat higher in hypertensive subjects, with the only significant difference occurring among Sansei men. Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure correlated more strongly with IAF than BMI or skinfold thicknesses among Nisei, whereas among Sansei, IAF and BMI correlated equally well with either blood pressure. Significant positive correlations were found between fasting insulin level and blood pressure among Sansei only, even after adjustment for IAF and BMI (diastolic blood pressure - insulin coefficient = 0.24, P = 0.0043; systolic blood pressure insulin coefficient = 0.36, P = 0.0025).


IAF correlated more strongly with blood pressure than BMI or skinfold thicknesses among older, second-generation Japanese-Americans and was positively correlated with blood pressure among Sansei independent of fasting insulin level. Fasting insulin was significantly correlated with blood pressure independent of visceral and overall adiposity among third-generation Japanese-Americans.

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