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Visceral fat is a strong predictor of insulin resistance regardless of cardiorespiratory fitness in non-diabetic people.

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Consolidated Research Institute for Advanced Science and Medical Care, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan.


Abdominal adiposity and low cardiorespiratory fitness are associated with insulin resistance in people with impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes. However, little is known about which factor precedes insulin resistance in people with impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes, and which is the stronger predictor of insulin resistance in non-diabetic people. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between insulin resistance and cardiorespiratory fitness, visceral fat, and subcutaneous fat in non-diabetic people. Subjects included 87 men and 77 women aged 30-72 y (mean+/-SD, 51.3+/-12.3 y). Cardiorespiratory fitness was assessed by measuring the maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) in a progressive continuous test to exhaustion on a cycle ergometer. The visceral and subcutaneous fat areas were measured by magnetic resonance imaging. The homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-R) was calculated from the fasting concentrations of glucose and insulin. Stepwise multiple linear regression analysis revealed that visceral and subcutaneous fat were significant correlates of HOMA-R, explaining 24% and 6% of the variance, respectively, whereas sex, age, and VO2max were not significant independent determinants. Abdominal fat deposition rather than cardiorespiratory fitness is a significant predictor of insulin resistance in non-diabetic people; visceral fat is the most important factor.

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