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23-09-2010 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Visceral fat area superior for predicting metabolic risk factor clustering


Free abstract

MedWire News: Visceral fat area is superior to several other anthropometric indices for predicting the clustering of metabolic risk factors, Japanese researchers report.

They found that visceral fat area had a stronger association with clusters of the metabolic risk factors studied than subcutaneous fat area, body mass index (BMI) or waist circumference.

Among the metabolic risk factors studied, high triglyceride levels in men and low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in both men and women had particularly strong associations with visceral fat area.

Waist circumference is almost always used as one of the criteria for diagnosing the metabolic syndrome, and is typically used as a simplified measure of visceral fat area, say Yumi Matsushita (National Center for Global Health and Medicine, Tokyo) and co-workers.

They compared the relationship between metabolic risk factors and visceral and subcutaneous fat areas, measured using computed tomography, as well as waist circumference and BMI in 6292 men and women who participated in the Hitachi Health Study.

Individuals were identified with metabolic risk factor clustering if they had two or more of the four risk factors defined in the National Cholesterol Education Program's Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines in 2005 (high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, and hyperglycemia), with the exception of waist circumference.

Compared with men in the lowest fifth of visceral fat area, men in the ascending four highest fifths had odds ratios for metabolic risk factor clustering of 2.4, 3.4, 5.0, and 9.7, respectively. For women, the corresponding odds ratios were 1.5, 2.6, 4.6, and 10.0.

The odds ratio for metabolic risk factor clustering in the highest fifth of visceral fat area was 1.5 to two times higher than those for the other anthropometric indices used for both genders, the researchers report in the journal Diabetes Care.

They conclude: "The present study adds evidence to support an important role for visceral fat area in the pathogenesis of metabolic risk factor clustering in Japanese adults."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Anita Wilkinson