It has been hypothesized that visceral fat releases free fatty acids and adipokines and thereby exposes the liver to fat accumulation. The authors aimed to evaluate current epidemiologic evidence for an association between abdominal fat and liver fat content. Clinical and epidemiologic studies with data on abdominal fat and liver fat content were reviewed. Studies using waist circumference to estimate abdominal fat mass suggested a direct association between abdominal fat and liver fat content. Studies using imaging methods suggested a direct association between intraabdominal fat and liver fat content, but not between subcutaneous abdominal fat and liver fat content. In conclusion, clinical and epidemiologic studies of abdominal fat and liver fat content suggest a direct association between abdominal fat and liver fat content which is probably accounted for by visceral fat. However, results from the included studies do not allow strong conclusions regarding the temporal sequence of events. Future longitudinal studies are recommended to obtain additional information on associations and mechanisms. Both abdominal fat depots and other body compartments of interest should be included to further investigate the association between specific fat depots and liver fat content. Biomarkers may provide insight into underlying mechanisms.
BACKGROUND: Cross-sectional studies have reported a lower prevalence of abdominal obese persons among frequent drinkers than among nonfrequent drinkers. OBJECTIVE: We tested the hypothesis that drinking frequency is associated with subsequent changes in waist circumference. DESIGN: Data come from a prospective cohort study conducted in 1993-1997 (baseline) and 1999-2002 (follow-up) and included 43 543 men and women. Baseline information on alcohol drinking frequency was related to 1) change in waist circumference by linear regression and 2) major gain and major loss in waist circumference (defined as waist change in the lowest or highest quintile of waist changes) by polytomous logistic regression, also taking into account amount of alcohol intake. RESULTS: Drinking frequency was inversely associated with changes in waist circumference in women and was unassociated with changes in waist circumference in men. Drinking frequency was unassociated with major waist loss but was inversely associated with major waist gain: odds ratios among men were 0.97 (95% CI: 0.73, 1.28), 0.95 (95% CI: 0.81, 1.12), 0.88 (95% CI: 0.77, 0.99), 0.82 (95% CI: 0.71, -0.95), and 0.79 (95% CI: 0.69, 0.9) for never drinking, drinking on 1, 2-4, 5-6, and 7 d/wk, respectively, compared with men who drank alcohol on
Centre for Indigenous Peoples' Nutrition and Environment and School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University, Ste-Anne de Bellevue, Québec, Canada H9X 3V9. firstname.lastname@example.org
The metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a cluster of metabolic abnormalities in which visceral obesity is a prominent feature. Although a matter of debate, the MetS essentially represents "at risk obesity." The purpose of this study was to compare the various definitions of MetS, with a special focus on abdominal obesity, and to explore sex and ethnic differences in the prevalence and nature of this syndrome in 3 ethnic groups residing in the Canadian province of Québec. The study population included adult participants of 3 cross-sectional health surveys conducted in southern Québec, James Bay, and Nunavik between 1990 and 1992. A total of 2613 adults (18-74 years old) were included: 1417 Quebecers, 817 Indian Crees, and 379 Inuit. The prevalence of MetS varied by definitions, and the highest agreement was observed between the National Cholesterol Education Program-Adult Treatment Panel III and the International Diabetes Federation (79%). Most women (25%), regardless of ethnic origin, presented with a "triad" profile characterized by high waist circumference, elevated triglycerides, and low high-density lipoprotein, whereas 20% of men had the "deadly quartet" of high blood pressure with the triad mentioned above. Furthermore, our results highlight an obvious difference in the impact of the increased abdominal obesity on metabolic parameters such as insulin resistance measured by the homeostasis model assessment according to ethnic origin (P
This study explored the relationship between muscle fat infiltration derived from mid-thigh computed tomography (CT) scan, central fat distribution and insulin sensitivity in postmenopausal women. Mid-thigh CT scans were used to measure low attenuation muscle surface (LAMS) (0-34 Hounsfield units (HU)), which represented a specific component of fat-rich muscle. Whole-body insulin sensitivity (M/I) was evaluated by an euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp. A group of 103 women aged 57.0 ± 4.4 years was studied. Women with higher levels of LAMS presented higher metabolic risk features, particularly elevated fasting, 2-h plasma glucose (2hPG) concentrations and diminished M/I (P
Cardiovascular disease is the first cause of mortality in women in North America. The risk of cardiovascular disease increases sharply after middle age in women, especially after menopause. The aim was to investigate changes in body composition and cardiometabolic profile throughout the menopausal transition.
This was a 5-year observational, longitudinal study on the menopausal transition. The study included 102 premenopausal women at baseline (age, 49.9 ± 1.9 y; body mass index, 23.3 ± 2.2 kg/m). Outcome measures include menopause status, body composition by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (total fat mass [FM], trunk FM, and total fat-free mass), waist circumference, visceral and abdominal subcutaneous fat, fasting glucose and insulin levels, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, plasma lipid levels (triglycerides, total cholesterol, and high- and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol), and resting blood pressure.
Repeated-measure analyses revealed significant increases for FM, percentage FM, trunk FM, visceral fat, plasma fasting glucose, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (0.05 > P
A high amount of subcutaneous fat is suggested to explain the observation of lower obesity-associated metabolic risk among Inuit than among Europeans. We examined the association between measures of obesity (visceral adipose tissue [VAT], subcutaneous adipose tissue [SAT], BMI, waist circumference [WC], and percentage of body fat) and the indices of glucose metabolism (fasting and 2-h glucose levels, insulin resistance per homeostasis model assessment [HOMA-IR], and the insulin sensitivity index [ISI0,120]) among Greenland Inuit.
A total of 3,108 adult Inuit participated in a population-based study. The examination included a 75-g oral glucose tolerance test and anthropometric measurements. VAT and SAT were measured by ultrasound according to a validated protocol. Information on sociodemographic characteristics and health behaviors was obtained by interview.
Mean SATs were 1.8 and 3.5 cm in men and women, respectively. Mean VATs were 7.0 and 6.3 cm in men and women, respectively. The total prevalence of type 2 diabetes was 9%. Percentage of body fat generally was most strongly associated with all outcomes. Both SAT and VAT were significantly associated with glucose intolerance, fasting and 2-h plasma glucose levels, HOMA-IR, and ISI0,120. VAT was more strongly associated with all outcomes than was SAT. After further adjustment for BMI or WC, VAT was associated with glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, whereas there was a trend toward a negative or no association with SAT.
High mean values of SAT may to a large extent explain the high WC in Inuit populations, and this is suggested to contribute to the lower observed metabolic risk for a given level of obesity.
Dietary factors such as low energy density and low glycemic index were associated with a lower gain in abdominal adiposity. A better understanding of which food groups/items contribute to these associations is necessary.
To ascertain the association of food groups/items consumption on prospective annual changes in "waist circumference for a given BMI" (WC(BMI)), a proxy for abdominal adiposity.
We analyzed data from 48,631 men and women from 5 countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. Anthropometric measurements were obtained at baseline and after a median follow-up time of 5.5 years. WC(BMI) was defined as the residuals of waist circumference regressed on BMI, and annual change in WC(BMI) (?WC(BMI), cm/y) was defined as the difference between residuals at follow-up and baseline, divided by follow-up time. The association between food groups/items and ?WC(BMI) was modelled using centre-specific adjusted linear regression, and random-effects meta-analyses to obtain pooled estimates.
Higher fruit and dairy products consumption was associated with a lower gain in WC(BMI) whereas the consumption of white bread, processed meat, margarine, and soft drinks was positively associated with ?WC(BMI). When these six food groups/items were analyzed in combination using a summary score, those in the highest quartile of the score--indicating a more favourable dietary pattern--showed a ?WC(BMI) of -0.11 (95% CI -0.09 to -0.14) cm/y compared to those in the lowest quartile.
A dietary pattern high in fruit and dairy and low in white bread, processed meat, margarine, and soft drinks may help to prevent abdominal fat accumulation.
Cites: Int J Obes (Lond). 2005 Jul;29(7):778-8415917857
Increased proinflammatory status is associated with both increased adiposity and higher mortality risk. Thus, it is paradoxical that mild obesity does not predict increased mortality in older adults. We investigated the association of inflammatory markers with body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) in nonagenarians, and the combined effects of BMI, WC, WHR, and inflammatory status on mortality.
This study was based on a prospective population-based study, Vitality 90+, carried out in Tampere, Finland. Altogether, 157 women and 53 men aged 90 years were subjected to anthropometric measurements, blood samples, and a 4-year mortality follow-up. Inflammatory status was based on sex-specific median levels of interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA), interleukin-6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein (CRP), and tumor necrosis factor-a (TNF-a).
In the unadjusted linear regression analyses, IL-1RA, CRP, and TNF-a were positively associated with BMI and WC in women, whereas in men IL-1RA was positively associated with BMI and IL-6 positively with WC. In the models adjusted for diseases, functional status, and smoking, IL-1RA and CRP were positively associated with BMI and WC in women. Low WC and WHR combined with low inflammation protected from mortality in women and high BMI and WC regardless of inflammation protected from mortality in men in the adjusted Cox regression analysis.
In the oldest old, the effect of adiposity in combination with inflammatory status on mortality differs between men and women. More research is needed to disentangle the role of adiposity among the oldest old.
Cites: World Health Organ Tech Rep Ser. 1995;854:1-4528594834
To examine the associations of insulin resistance at childhood with adiposity changes over a 6-year period (from 9 to 15 years) in a sample of 659 Swedish and Estonian children (52.7% girls) participating in the European Youth Heart Study.
We measured weight, height, waist circumference, biceps, triceps, subscapular, suprailiac, and medial calf skinfolds, and we calculated body mass index (BMI), sum of five skinfolds, and body fat percentage. Fasting plasma glucose and insulin were measured and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) was calculated. Changes in puberty stage, sex, centre and the corresponding baseline adiposity values were used as confounders in all analysis.
HOMA-IR at childhood was significantly and positively associated with changes in BMI (ß=0.265; P=0.024), sum of five skinfolds (ß=0.3445; P=0.003), body fat percentage (ß=1.042; P=0.016) and waist circumference (ß=0.806; P=0.002) from childhood to adolescence. These relationships persisted when overweight children were excluded from the analysis. BMI, sum of five skinfolds, body fat percentage and waist circumference at childhood were not significantly associated with changes in HOMA-IR (P for all >0.1).
These results give further support to the concept that lower insulin sensitivity at childhood may predict subsequent total and central adiposity gain at adolescence. These findings enhance the role of insulin sensitivity as a target of obesity prevention already from the first decades of life.
Exercise is thought to reduce high-risk body fat, but intervention studies are frequently limited by short follow-ups and observational studies by genetic selection. Therefore, we studied the effects of a physically inactive vs active lifestyle on high-risk (visceral, liver and intramuscular) fat in twin pairs discordant for leisure-time physical activity habits for over 30 years.
A longitudinal population-based twin study.
Sixteen middle-aged (50-74 years) same-sex twin pairs (seven monozygotic (MZ), nine dizygotic (DZ)) with long-term discordance for physical activity habits were comprehensively identified from the Finnish Twin Cohort (TWINACTIVE study). Discordance was initially defined in 1975 and the same co-twin remained significantly more active during the 32-year-long follow-up.
Magnetic resonance imaging-assessed visceral, liver and intramuscular fat.
In within-pair analyses carried out after the adult life-long discordance in physical activity habits, the physically inactive co-twins had 50% greater visceral fat area compared with the active co-twins (mean difference 55.5 cm2, 95% confidence interval (CI) 7.0-104.1, P=0.010). The liver fat score was 170% higher (13.2, 95% CI 3.5-22.8, P=0.030) and the intramuscular fat area 54% higher (4.9 cm2, 95% CI 1.9-7.9, P=0.002) among the inactive co-twins. All the trends were similar for MZ and DZ pairs. Peak oxygen uptake was inversely associated with visceral (r=-0.46, P=0.012) and intramuscular fat area (r=-0.48, P=0.028), with similar trends in intrapair difference correlations (r=-0.57, P=0.021 and r=-0.50, P=0.056, respectively). The intrapair difference correlation between visceral and intramuscular fat was also high (r=0.65, P=0.009).
Regular physical activity seems to be an important factor in preventing the accumulation of high-risk fat over time, even after controlling for genetic liability and childhood environment. Therefore, the prevention and treatment of obesity should emphasize the role of regular leisure-time physical activity.