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Int J Pediatr Obes. 2008;3 Suppl 1:28-36. doi: 10.1080/17477160801896739.

Behavioral risk factors in relation to visceral adipose tissue deposition in adolescent females.

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  • 1Department of Public Health and Family Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.



To characterize visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue (SAAT) deposition in girls over the pubertal period and to assess the influence of behavioral risk factors on their deposition.


In total, 41 subjects of mean age of 13.5 years (standard deviation, SD=0.9) were assessed at menarche. At 4 years after menarche, follow-up data were available for 24 of these subjects.


VAT and SAAT were measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and total body fat by isotopic dilution of (18)O water at menarche and 4 years after menarche in a subset of subjects enrolled in a larger study of growth and development. Smoking, alcohol use, and physical activity were assessed by self-report at both time points. Smoking, alcohol use, and physical activity at 4 years after menarche were assessed in relation to concurrent VAT and SAAT, and to the 4-year change in VAT and SAAT.


Smoking and alcohol use at 4 years after menarche was associated with the change in VAT over the 4-year period, before (p<0.03 and p<0.02, respectively), and after adjustment for total body fat (p<0.01 and p<0.02, respectively).


In addition to the established health risks, smoking and drinking, even at low levels, appear to be associated with increased VAT deposition in adolescent females.

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