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27-03-2012 | Cardiology | Article

Visceral fat area ‘an important predictor of cardiometabolic risk’


Free abstract

MedWire News: Long-term changes in body weight are poorly correlated with changes in visceral fat area (VFA), a study of Japanese men suggests.

The researchers say that repeated direct measurements of VFA over time are a more accurate indicator of a person's metabolic risk and advise targeting VFA in order to reduce the risk for the metabolic syndrome.

Yumi Matsushita (National Center for Global Health and Medicine, Tokyo) and team analyzed data on 1106 men who had participated in the community-based Hitachi Heart Study.

The men were assessed at baseline, in 2004-2005, and again 3 years later, in 2007-2008. At each visit they underwent computed tomography imaging for measurement of anthropometric variables and were comprehensively evaluated for cardiometabolic risk factors.

The men's mean age at baseline was 52.7 years, mean body mass index (BMI) was 23.6 kg/m2, mean VFA was 120.0 cm2, and mean waist circumference (WC) was 85.6 cm.

Each of these parameters was relatively unaltered between baseline and 3-year follow-up, note the researchers in Diabetes Care. For instance, BMI increased by just 0.1 kg/m2, VFA was unchanged, and WC decreased by 0.2 cm.

Importantly, however, there were strong correlations among changes in the four adiposity indices (VFA, subcutaneous fat area [SFA], body weight, and WC), and "colinearity" was observed among the indices, note Matsushita et al.

Changes in body weight, SFA, and WC were also strongly correlated, whereas the changes in body weight and VFA were only weakly correlated.

"These findings suggest that the change in body weight was not an exact surrogate marker of change in VFA," the authors write.

Finally, multiple linear regression analysis revealed that changes in the four adiposity indices were independently associated with changes in cardiometabolic risk factors over the 3-year study period. In particular, the change in VFA signficantly predicted changes in triglycerides and cholesterol, independently of body weight and WC.

This suggests the importance of measuring the VFA repeatedly over time, say the authors, who conclude: "The adoption of a lifestyle that does not result in an increase in VFA is important in preventing metabolic syndrome."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Joanna Lyford

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