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Am J Clin Nutr. 1993 Apr;57(4):470-5.

Adipose tissue distribution measured by magnetic resonance imaging in obese women.

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School of Physical and Health Education, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.


This study had two objectives: 1) to establish magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a tool for measuring subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue (AT) distribution in obese women, and 2) to assess the relationship between selected anthropometric variables and MRI-measured AT. Fifteen healthy obese women aged 35.0 +/- 9.8 y (mean +/- SD) with a body mass index of 36.4 +/- 7.1 and a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.91 +/- 0.05 participated in the study. The mean difference for repeated measures of subcutaneous and visceral AT area at L4-L5 was 1.1% (P = 0.15) and 5.5% (P = 0.14), respectively. Large interindividual differences were observed for total (30.2-81.7 L), subcutaneous (27.1-76.8 L), and visceral AT volume (0.9-5.5 L). Subcutaneous and visceral AT represented 92.3% and 6.3% of the total AT volume, respectively. Hip (r2 = 0.96) and waist (r2 = 0.88) circumferences were significant predictors of subcutaneous AT volume. The combination of body weight, age, and height explained 89% of the variance in visceral AT volume. These results demonstrate that MRI provides reliable measures of subcutaneous and visceral AT distribution in obese women.

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