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PeaNutrition for Metabolic Health (PANaMAH): TOFI_Asia Study

PeaNutrition for Metabolic Health (PANaMAH) program is one of the five priority research platforms in the National High Value Nutrition Science Challenge (NSC). The NSC is a research consortium engaged in addressing science-based challenges within New Zealand as identified by researchers and the general public. The PANaMAH platform is focused on investigating the susceptibility and resilience of individuals to adverse metabolic health and to use the knowledge to develop nutrition interventions to prevent dysglycaemia and type 2 diabetes (T2D). 

Background to the TOFI_Asia Study

Perhaps surprisingly, people of Asian descent are at much greater risk of poor metabolic health and diabetes at a younger age and a lower body weight than Europeans, Maori or Pacific people. The reason why some individuals are more susceptible than others and what controls their diabetes risk may lie in the storage of body fat. Gaining even small amounts of body weight can lead to the fat ‘spilling over’ from adipose tissue and into important organs such as the muscle, liver and pancreas, which in turn may significantly increase risk of disease. Often known as the TOFI profile – ‘Thin on the Outside, Fat on the Inside’ – people who appear quite slim can develop diabetes whilst those who are very overweight and/or obese may not. As part of the National Science Challenge, our research team is conducting clinical studies to ask questions such as ‘who is most at risk and why?’, ‘is the TOFI profile important?’, and ‘what are the early blood markers of diabetes?’

What is the aim of the TOFI_Asia Study? 

To identify early biomarkers to characterise and predict susceptibility and resilience to T2D in overweight/obese, healthy/prediabetic Chinese/Korean and Caucasian European individuals. The metabolic profile that characterises and predicts susceptibility and resilience to T2D, in individuals with and without the TOFI profile, will be identified based on established markers of metabolic risk (HbA1c, biochemistry, cytokines, peptides), anthropometry and body composition (DEXA), lipid overspill in pancreas and liver (MRI) and cardiorespiratory fitness (YMCA Test). 

Can you participate in the Study? 

You are eligible to participate in the TOFI_Asia Study if you are:

- Asian Chinese (mainland Chinese; Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore or Malaysian   

  Chinese) or Korean [recruitment closed]

- Caucasian European

- Male or Female

- Between 18 - 70 years of age

- Overweight with BMI (weight/height2) between 20 – 50 kg/m2

- Not diagnosed with diabetes.

What happens if you decide to participate?

You will need to be available for ONE clinic visit of about 2 - 3 hours which will take place at the Human Nutrition Unit (HNU), University of Auckland in Mount Eden and the Body Composition Unit of Auckland City Hospital in Grafton.

All your anthropometric measurements, e.g. weight, height, waist circumference, hip circumference, blood pressure as well as blood samples will be collected at the HNU. Following this you will have your body composition measured using the DEXA at Auckland City Hospital. If you are keen and are found eligible a fitness test (Auckland City Hospital, optional) and MRI scan (University of Auckland, Grafton campus, optional) will also be conducted. 

What will you receive for your participation? 

All participants in this study will receive a $50 voucher as a gratitude for participating in the study and for travel expenses. An additional $100 voucher will be given to those who also did the MRI scan and fitness test.

Need more information? 

Please Contact:

Wilson Yip

Phone: 096303744



You can also follow the link below to fill out the online pre-screening questionnaire for us to determine your eligibility to particpate in the TOFI_Asia: