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Obes Res. 1995 Jan;3(1):9-22.

Body compartment and subcutaneous adipose tissue distribution--risk factor patterns in obese subjects.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Göteborg, Sweden.


The purpose of this study was to investigate whether upper body obesity and/or visceral obesity are related to cardiovascular risk factors among severely obese subjects, phenomena that have previously been reported in more heterogeneous body weight distributions. 2450 severely obese men and women aged 37 to 59 years, with a body mass index of 39 +/- 4.5 kg/m2 (mean +/- SD) were examined cross-sectionally. Eight cardiovascular risk factors were studied in relation to the following body composition indicators: four trunk and three limb circumferences, along with weight, height and sagittal trunk diameter. From the latter three measurements lean body mass (LBM, i.e., the non-adipose tissue mass) and the masses of subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue were estimated by using sex-specific prediction equations previously calibrated by computed tomography. Two risk factor patterns could be distinguished: 1. One body compartment-risk factor pattern in which the subcutaneous adipose tissue (AT) mass and, in particular, the visceral AT mass were positively related to most risk factors while the lean body mass was negatively related to some risk factors. 2. One subcutaneous adipose tissue distribution- risk factor pattern in which the neck circumference was positively and the thigh circumference negatively related to several risk factors. It is concluded that lean body mass (LBM), visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue masses as well as neck and thigh circumferences, used as indices of subcutaneous adipose tissue distribution, are independently related to cardiovascular risk factors in severely obese men and women.

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