Objective: To disclose the possible relationship between habitual tea consumption and changes in total body fat and fat distribution in humans.
Research methods and procedures: A cross-sectional survey of 1,210 epidemiologically sampled adults (569 men and 641 women) were enrolled in our study. Tea consumption and other lifestyle characteristics were obtained by structured questionnaires. Percent body fat (BF%) was measured using bioelectrical impedance analysis. Body fat distribution was assessed using waist-to-hip ratio (WHR).
Results: Among the 1,103 analyzed subjects, 473 adults (42.9%) consumed tea once or more per week for at least 6 months. The habitual tea drinkers were male-dominant, more frequently current smokers, and alcohol or coffee drinkers than the nonhabitual tea drinkers. Habitual tea drinkers for more than 10 years showed a 19.6% reduction in BF% and a 2.1% reduction in WHR compared with nonhabitual tea drinkers. The multiple stepwise regression models revealed that men, older age, higher BMI, and current smokers were positive factors for BF% and WHR. In contrast, longer duration of habitual tea consumption and higher total physical activity were negative factors for BF%. Longer duration of habitual tea consumption, higher socioeconomic status, and premenopausal status were negative factors for WHR.
Discussion: An inverse relationship may exist among habitual tea consumption, BF%, and body fat distribution, especially for subjects who have maintained the habit of tea consumption for more than 10 years.