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Diabetes Care. 2006 Mar;29(3):679-84.

Does measurement site for visceral and abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue alter associations with the metabolic syndrome?

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  • 1School of Physical & Health Education, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6.



To determine whether the associations between visceral adipose tissue (VAT), abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (ASAT), and the metabolic syndrome are altered depending on measurement site for VAT and ASAT and the definition used to identify the metabolic syndrome.


Total VAT and ASAT volume was derived using approximately 37 contiguous computed tomography (CT) images from T10-T11 to L5-S1 in 85 men. CT images obtained at eight intervertebral locations (e.g., L4-L5, L3-L4, etc.) were used to determine the associations between partial volumes (single images) and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome was defined using the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) and International Diabetes Federation (IDF) criteria. Logistic regression was used to calculate the odds ratio (OR) per SD increase in adipose tissue.


For total and all partial volumes, VAT was more strongly associated with metabolic syndrome than ASAT independent of metabolic syndrome criteria. The OR (per SD) for NCEP metabolic syndrome was higher for total VAT volume (OR = 7.26) and for the partial volumes at T12-L1 (7.46) and L1-L2 (8.77) than those at the L4-L5 level (3.94). The OR for metabolic syndrome ( approximately 2.6) was not substantially different among the ASAT measures. A similar pattern of association was observed using the IDF metabolic syndrome criteria.


The measurement site for VAT, but not for ASAT, has a substantial influence on the magnitude of the association with both metabolic syndrome definitions. However, because VAT remained significantly associated with metabolic syndrome regardless of measurement site, the clinical interpretation was unaltered by measurement protocol or metabolic syndrome definition.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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