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16-04-2012 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Leg fat may be more cardioprotective than arm or trunk fat

Abstract

Free abstract

MedWire News: Study findings suggest that the region where fat is accumulated in the body may have a differential effect on the lipid profile.

"Higher levels of trunk fat were found to be associated with a poorer lipid profile, while higher levels of leg fat were found to be associated with a better lipid profile," write Mairena Sánchez-López (Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Cuenca, Spain) and colleagues. They add that arm fat seems to have a neutral effect.

The findings arise from a cross-sectional study involving 683 university students aged 18-30 years. The study is reported in the European Journal of Nutrition.

Total and regional (trunk, leg, and arm) body fat were measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and the independent relationships to blood lipids (triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein [HDL] cholesterol, and triglyceride/HDL ratio), insulin resistance, blood pressure, and inflammation (as measured by C-reactive protein) were assessed.

The investigators report that, after adjusting for fat mass index and other confounders, higher trunk fat levels were significantly correlated with higher triglyceride levels and a higher triglyceride/HDL cholesterol ratio, as well as with lower HDL cholesterol levels.

By contrast, higher leg fat levels appeared to have a protective effect; indeed they were significantly associated with a better lipid profile.

Arm fat showed no associated with blood lipids after adjusting for fat mass index and other confounders, and neither trunk, leg, or arm fat was related to insulin resistance, blood pressure, or C-reactive protein after total fat was accounted for.

"Our data suggest that the region where fat is accumulated might have a differential effect on lipid profile: trunk fat has an adverse effect, leg fat has a protective effect, and arm fat has no effect," write the authors.

"The differences observed between upper- and lower-body peripheral fat depots should be further explored," they conclude.

MedWire (www.medwire-news.md) is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Nikki Withers