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17-09-2012 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Diabetes risk accumulates with visceral fat


Free abstract

medwireNews: A change in intraabdominal fat area (IAF) over time is associated with the development of diabetes in Japanese-American individuals, report US researchers.

"The results of our analysis help provide additional information about the association between an increase in body fat, and in particular visceral fat, and near-term diabetes risk," say Pandora Wander (University of Washington, Seattle) and team.

Although the relationship between central adiposity and metabolic disorders is well established, Wander et al say this is the first longitudinal analysis to demonstrate the role of accumulation of abdominal fat over time in the development of diabetes.

The study included 421 Japanese Americans, free of diabetes at baseline, who were followed up at 5-6 years and again at 10-11 years for assessment of anthropometric and glycemic parameters.

At the 5-year follow up, 39 (9.3%) individuals had developed diabetes and by 10 years, this number had increased to 74 (17.6%).

The researchers report that the mean change in computed tomography (CT)-measured intraabdominal fat area (IAF) over 5 years was 11.1 cm2.

The 5-year change in IAF was significantly associated with the development of diabetes. An increase of 1 standard deviation in IAF was associated with a 1.65-fold greater likelihood of developing the condition at 10 years, after adjustment for potential confounders including age, gender, family history of diabetes, baseline body mass index, baseline IAF, second- versus first-generation Japanese American, smoking status, and physical activity.

This association remained significant after adjustment for changes in weight over time, as well as changes in thoracic, thigh, and abdominal subcutaneous fat.

Wander and team say the findings provide a novel argument in support of the hypothesis that visceral fat may be causally linked to diabetes.

"Future research targeting and quantifying central weight loss may help provide important information pertinent to diabetes prevention efforts," concludes the team.

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

By Sally Robertson, medwireNews Reporter

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