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Objective: This cross-sectional study compares the relationship of visceral and total abdominal adipose tissue (VAT and TAAT) measurements obtained with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and a range of 'simpler' techniques suitable for field or bedside use: BMI, waist circumference (WC), bioelectrical impedance (BIA) devices and dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Method: 120 participants were recruited, stratified by gender and BMI (20 men and 20 women within each group: lean, overweight and obese). Measurements included height, weight, WC (at midpoint), DXA L2-L4 fat, and BIA (two whole-body and one abdominal device). MRI was used as the reference. Results: MRI data showed that men have more VAT than women, (mean 147 vs. 93 cm2) despite less TAAT (362 vs. 405 cm2). Correlations of simpler abdominal fat measures showed significantly higher correlations with TAAT than with VAT in men and women. Similarly, trunk and whole-body fat measures were significantly more strongly correlated with TAAT than with VAT. Conclusion: None of the simpler techniques show strong correlations with VAT measured by MRI, but WC, abdominal BIA 'visceral fat level' and DXA L2-L4 fat all show similar and strong correlations with TAAT and may be useful in large scale surveys. Copyright © 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Original publication




Journal article


Obesity Facts

Publication Date





9 - 15