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Diabetologia. 2008 Aug;51(8):1475-82. doi: 10.1007/s00125-008-1058-0. Epub 2008 Jun 6.

Is the reduction of lower-body subcutaneous adipose tissue associated with elevations in risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease?

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School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada, K7L 3N6.



Since the accumulation of lower-body subcutaneous adipose tissue (LBSAT) is associated with decreased cardiometabolic risk, we evaluated whether reductions in LBSAT independent of changes in visceral AT (VAT) and abdominal SAT are associated with elevations in diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk factors.


Overweight and obese men (n = 58) and premenopausal women (n = 49) with elevated cardiometabolic risk underwent 3 months of diet and/or exercise induced weight-loss treatment; regional body composition assessment by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); and cardiometabolic risk assessment, including an OGTT.


After control for potential confounders, reductions in VAT, abdominal SAT and LBSAT were all associated with improvements in selective cardiometabolic risk factors, including fasting glucose levels, lipid status and OGTT glucose and insulin. Independent of changes in the other AT depots, reductions in VAT and abdominal SAT, but not LBSAT, remained associated with improvement in fasting glucose levels, glucose tolerance and lipid status.


Among overweight and obese adults with increased cardiometabolic risk, the selective reduction of LBSAT is not associated with elevations in risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Thus, the reduction of excess AT conveys health benefit regardless of origin.

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