Introduction India is experiencing an epidemic of obesity, diabetes and coronary disease. This epidemic is largely attributed to rapid urbanisation, driven in part by rural-urban migration. The aim of this study is to investigate whether rural-urban migration is related to DXA measures of adiposity within the Hyderabad arm of the Indian Migrant Study.
Methods Migrants of rural origin, their rural dwelling sibs, and those of urban origin together with their urban dwelling sibs were invited to attend for a screening examination. Participants underwent DXA scanning to assess total body fat and abdominal fat. Anthropometric variables were also measured and participants were interviewed.
Results We recruited 253 rural non-migrant rural (RNM), 332 rural-urban migrants (RUM), and 125 urban non-migrant (UNM) participants. Overall, 54% were male and average age was 48 years. RNM had significantly lower total fat, in terms of kgs of fat and percentage body fat, compared to RUM and UNM among both men (RNM: 14.8 kg and 22.5%; RUM: 18.0 kg and 25.5%; UNM; 18.6 kg and 25.9%) and women (RNM: 20.9 kg and 35.3%; RUM: 24.7 kg and 38.3%; UNM; 27.3 kg and 39.8%). Abdominal fat mass was also significantly lower among RNM than the two urban groups in both men and women. The percentage of total body fat in the abdominal region was lower among RNM men than the two urban groups, but this difference was not apparent among women.
Conclusion Migration into urban areas is associated with increased obesity, which may drive other risk factor changes.
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