Body fat distribution in Alaskan Eskimos of the Bering Straits region: The Alaskan Siberia Project

P. M. Risica, S. O.E. Ebbesson, C. D. Schraer, E. D. Nobmann, B. H. Caballero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To describe the body fat content and distribution of adult Alaska Natives of the Bering Straits Region. DESIGN: Cross-sectional screening in the spring of 1994. SUBJECTS: 454 non-pregnant native residents from four rural Alaskan villages. MEASUREMENTS: Height, weight, waist, hip and thigh circumference, bioelectrical impedance, sagittal abdominal diameter, and triceps, biceps, suprailiac, subscapular and thigh skinfolds. RESULTS: Mean height, weight and subscapular-to-triceps ratio were higher in men than women. The women had larger waist, hip and thigh circumferences, higher body fatness, as well as larger skinfolds than the men. There were no demonstrable differences between men and women in measures of body fat distribution. The proportions of women and men with high waist-to-hip ratio (≥ 0.8 for women, ≥ 0.9 for men) for low (< 25 kg/m2), medium (25-30 kg/m2) and high (> 30 kg/m2) body mass index (BMI) groups were compared with a Canadian study of all races. In the lowest BMI subgroup (< 25 kg/m2) a much higher proportion of Eskimo women exhibited a high waist-to-hip ratio (91%) than Eskimo men (42%) or Canadian women (29%) or men (51%). In the highest BMI subgroup (> 30 kg/m2) Eskimo women were similar in proportion of high waist-to-hip ratio (99%) compared to Eskimo men (100%), but still demonstrated a much greater proportion of subjects with high waist-to-hip ratio than either Canadian men (90%) or women (76%). CONCLUSIONS: The large abdominal fat depots found in Eskimo women were similar to men, and may indicate that future increases in diabetes mellitus and other metabolic alterations can be anticipated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-179
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000


  • Alaska
  • Anthropometry
  • Body composition
  • Body fat distribution
  • Eskimos
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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