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Nutr Diabetes. 2012 Aug 27;2:e42. doi: 10.1038/nutd.2012.15.

Abdominal obesity and mortality: The Pennington Center Longitudinal Study.

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Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine the association between visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and all-cause mortality. The sample included 1089 white men and women 18-84 years of age from the Pennington Center Longitudinal Study, a prospective cohort of participants assessed between 1995 and 2008, and followed for mortality until 31 December 2009. Abdominal VAT was measured at the L4-L5 vertebral level using computed tomography. There were 27 deaths during an average of 9.1 years of follow-up. Abdominal VAT was significantly associated with mortality after adjustment for age, sex and year of examination (hazards ratio (HR) 1.46; 95% confidence interval 1.05-2.05). The association was stronger after the inclusion of abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), smoking status, alcohol consumption and leisure-time physical activity as additional covariates (HR 1.74; 1.17-2.59). Limiting the sample to participants who were free of stroke, heart disease and cancer at baseline reduced the strength of the relationship slightly (HR 1.62; 1.07-2.47). Abdominal SAT was not associated with mortality, either alone or in combination with VAT and other covariates. The results support the assertion that abdominal VAT is an important therapeutic target for obesity reduction efforts.

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