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Diabetes. 1986 Apr;35(4):411-5.

Relationship of fat distribution to glucose tolerance. Results of computed tomography in male participants of the Normative Aging Study.


Computed tomography (CT) scanning was used to assess the relationship of glucose tolerance to fat distribution in men. Three cross sections [chest (including upper arms), abdomen, and thigh] were scanned in 41 men randomly selected from the Normative Aging Study, a longitudinal study of aging. Greater amounts of fat in the upper body and greater ratios of upper-body fat to lower-body fat were significantly correlated with higher 2-h serum glucose levels after adjustment for age and body mass index. In particular, intra-abdominal fat, a feature uniquely measured by CT, was a significant correlate of 2-h glucose. Largely parallel results were obtained when we compared a sample of male diabetic subjects (N = 8) with the male normal subjects from our random sample. This investigation demonstrates that body fat distribution, adjusted for overall degree of obesity, is a significant correlate of glucose tolerance even in a sample unselected for extremes of physique.

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