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Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Mar;65(3):855-60.

Regional fat distribution in women and risk of cardiovascular disease.

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  • 1Department of Human Studies, University of Alabama at Birmingham 35294-1250, USA.


Improvements in technology have allowed more precise measurements of regional fat distribution and also present the opportunity to make a systematic evaluation of the various fat depots, including intraabdominal adipose tissue (IAF), subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAF), trunk fat, arm fat, and leg fat. The purpose of this study was to determine which of the fat distribution variables (arm fat, leg fat, trunk fat, IAF, or SAF) may have independent relations with cardiovascular (CVD) risk factors [serum triacylglycerol, serum cholesterol, high-density-lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, HDL2 cholesterol, HDL3 cholesterol, low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, very-low-density-lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol, VLDL3 cholesterol, lipoprotein(a), and systolic and diastolic blood pressure] in women after adjusting for age, menopause status, and other fat-distribution variables. Two hundred twenty-four (138 premenopausal and 86 postmenopausal) white females ranging in age from 17 to 77 y were sampled. Percentage body fat ranged from 8.8% to 48.1% and IAF cross sections ranged from 9.2 to 335 cm2. Simple zero-linear correlations and partial correlations were calculated. IAF and trunk fat were consistently positively related to CVD risk factors, whereas leg fat was consistently negatively related to CVD risk, indicating that IAF and trunk fat may put women at increased risk of developing CVD.

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