Leisure time physical activities and dietary quality of the general and indigenous Taiwanese populations are associated with fat distribution and sarcopenia Academic Article uri icon


  • Indigenous peoples are at greater risk of obesity-related health problems for various reasons. These have been explored in the adulthood (>=19 yrs) section of the nationally-representative Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan (NAHSIT) for 2005-2008 in Indigenous mountain-dwelling (IndT) (n=226) and general (mainly Han Chinese) (GenT) (n=1486) Taiwanese. Physical activity, BMI, fat distribution (waist circum-ference (WC) and triceps skinfold (TSF)) and mid arm muscle circumference (MAMC) have been com-pared. Leisure-time physical activities (LTPA) were assigned metabolic equivalents (METs). Comparisons were made by ethnicity-locality. Indigenous men and women were 3.81 and 5.47 times more obese (WHO criteria BMI>=30 kg/m2) than the GenT, respectively. Some 55% of the IndT and 34% of the GenT reported no LTPA. All LTPA types were less evident in the IndT. Multivaiable adjusted ORs (95% CIs) against inactivity as referent were, for sarcopenic MAMC, in Indigenes with MVI-LTPA 0.13 (0.03-0.67) and in the GenT 0.61 (0.37-1.01); in the GenT with LTPA for BMI >=30 kg/m2 and obese TSF, they were 0.53 (0.31-0.91) and 0.77 (0.60-0.98), respectively. Without dietary quality adjustment, the sarcopenia risk in GenT with LTPA was significant (OR=0.60, 95% CI: 0.37-0.97). Having adjusted for dietary quality, the significance disappeared. Less sarcopenia was found with ambulation in the GenT (OR=2.07, 95% CI: 1.26-3.43). More over-fatness in an IndT than GenT is associated with less LTPA. LTPA reduces sarcope-nic risk irrespective of ethnicity, is partly dependent on diet, and reduces obesity indices in the GenT.

publication date

  • 2013