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Horm Res. 2008;70(1):22-8. doi: 10.1159/000129674. Epub 2008 May 21.

Independent effect of visceral adipose tissue on metabolic syndrome in obese adolescents.

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  • 1INSERM, U690, Hôpital Robert Debré, Paris, France.



Obesity is linked to metabolic complications, even in children, but the role of the distribution of adiposity is unclear. We aimed to assess which compartment of fat mass - total (TFM), visceral (VFM) or subcutaneous (SCFM)--is related to metabolic complications in overweight and obese children and adolescents.


Analyses were conducted in 159 overweight or obese children and adolescents (median body mass index 4.0 SD). TFM was measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Distribution of abdominal fat was assessed by MRI. Insulin resistance (IR) was determined using a homeostatic model assessment. The definition of metabolic syndrome (MS) was derived from National Cholesterol Education Program ATP III.


A parental history of obesity was positively and significantly associated with fat content of the three compartments (TFM: beta = 2.22; VFM: beta = 0.17; SCFM: beta = 0.12, respectively). VFM was also associated with gender (beta = -0.29) and ethnicity (beta = -0.54). TFM was a significant and independent determinant of IR (beta = 0.02) whereas IR and VFM only were significantly related to MS (OR = 3.55 and 3.66 respectively).


Our data indicate that even in overweight children VFM was influenced by several factors such as sex and ethnicity and that a relationship was evidenced between the amount of VFM and MS.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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