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Diabetologia. 2007 Jun;50(6):1156-60. Epub 2007 Mar 27.

Intra-abdominal fat accumulation predicts the development of the metabolic syndrome in non-diabetic Japanese-Americans.

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  • 1Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition, Department of Medicine, VA Puget Sound Health Care System (151) and University of Washington, 1660 South Columbian Way, Seattle, WA 98108, USA.



Intra-abdominal fat (IAF) is an important risk factor for CHD and type 2 diabetes, and in cross-sectional studies is associated with the metabolic syndrome (MetS). Our aim was to determine whether IAF accumulation predicts the future development of MetS in non-diabetic Japanese-Americans.


We conducted a prospective study of 457 Japanese-American men and women (mean+/-SD: age 51.5 +/- 12.0 years, BMI 23.9 +/- 3.1 kg/m(2)) without diabetes or MetS at baseline. Of these, 408 completed a 5-year follow-up and 366 completed a 10-year follow-up. BMI, waist circumference, IAF and subcutaneous fat (SCF) areas by computed tomography, blood pressure, fasting plasma glucose, insulin, triacylglycerol and HDL-cholesterol were measured at baseline and at 5- and 10-year follow-up. MetS was defined using National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III criteria.


Incidence of MetS was 15.3% at 5 years and 17.8% at 10 years. A change of 1 SD in IAF area was associated with a 2.1-fold increase in the odds of MetS at 10 years (odds ratio = 2.08, 95% CI 1.41-3.07) after adjusting for age, sex, baseline IAF and the presence of each individual MetS criteria at baseline. This association was independent of changes in fasting insulin and SCF areas.


We conclude that IAF accumulation over time independently predicts the development of MetS and thus may play an important role in the development of MetS in Japanese-Americans.

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