Body composition, bone health and vitamin D status of African adults in the North West Province
Sotunde, Olusola Funmilayo
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Background In South Africa, as in many other developing countries, obesity has become a major health problem causing an increase in the incidence and prevalence of various non-communicable diseases. Research has shown that excess adiposity is associated with low vitamin D status and detrimental to bone health. Low vitamin D status has been linked to various non-communicable diseases which includes osteoporosis, and also the metabolic syndrome. Information is scarce on the role of lean mass and fat mass on bone health in the black South African population. There is also a shortage of data on the association between vitamin D status and the metabolic syndrome in the South African population. Aim The main aim of this study was to examine factors (vitamin D status, socio-economic status [SES] and lifestyle risk factors) associated with body composition, including bone health, as well as predictors of change in body composition in African adults in the North West Province of South Africa. Methods The first study that forms part of this thesis was a longitudinal study aimed at examining the effects of urbanization, socio-economic status and lifestyle factors on changes in body composition over 5 years in rural and urban black South African adults. A total of 1058 men and women above age 30 years from the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology study were included in this study. The second study to form part of this thesis aimed to examine the association between body composition and bone health in urban black South African women. Structured questionnaires were used to collect socio-demographic and lifestyle information including medication and tobacco use. This second study is cross-sectional in design and it included 189 postmenopausal women aged > 43 years old. Dual X-ray absorptiometry was used to assess bone mineral density, lean mass and fat mass, while structured and specific questionnaires were used to assess the habitual physical activity, food frequency and fracture risk. Habitual activity energy expenditure was also measured using an accelerometer with a combined heart rate monitor. The third study aimed to examine the association of serum 25 hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] and parathyroid hormone (PTH) concentration, respectively, with the metabolic syndrome while controlling for adiposity in black women in the North West Province, South Africa. This third study is also cross-sectional in design and it included 209 HIV-negative urban women. Dual X-ray absorptiometry was used to assess adiposity, while habitual physical activity was accessed with questionnaire and habitual activity energy expenditure was also measured using an accelerometer with a combined heart rate monitor. Results Study 1: Over a 5-year period, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference increased in both genders, but the change was significant for BMI (P<0.01) and waist circumference (P<0.001) in women only, indicating an increase in adiposity over time. Urban residency positively predicted changes in waist circumference in men (p < 0.05) and women (p < 0.001) as well as change in triceps skinfold thickness of men (p < 0.05). Being married positively predicted changes in BMI (p < 0.001) and waist circumference (p < 0.001) in men, while age negatively predicted changes in triceps skinfold thickness in women (p < 0.001). Study 2: Fat mass and lean mass were significantly positively associated with bone mineral density (BMD) and fracture risk when adjusted for potential confounders. However, lean mass and not fat mass remained significantly associated with femoral neck BMD (β = 0.49, p <0.001), spine BMD (β = 0.48, p< 0.0001) and hip BMD (β = 0.59, p< 0.0001). Lean mass was also negatively associated with fracture risk (β = -0.19 p =0.04) when both lean and fat mass were in the same model. Study 3: After adjusting for age, body fat, habitual physical activity, tobacco use and season, neither 25(OH)D nor PTH concentrations showed significant associations with having the metabolic syndrome. However, when body fat was replaced with waist circumference there was a weak positive association between 25(OH)D concentration and the metabolic syndrome. No significant association was found between PTH:25(OH)D ratio and the metabolic syndrome. Conclusion This thesis has highlighted that the prevalence of obesity among black South Africans is high particularly among women and urbanization played a significant role in the increasing adiposity of black South Africans in the North West province. Lean mass had a stronger association with bone health in comparison to fat mass in urban black South African women. Low 25(OH)D concentration was not associated with the metabolic syndrome while there was no significant association between PTH and the metabolic syndrome in our black South African women.
- Health Sciences