Measuring abdominal adipose tissue: Comparison of simpler methods with MRI
Browning LM., Mugridge O., Dixon AK., Aitken SW., Prentice AM., Jebb SA.
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 cm 2 ) despite less TAAT (362 vs. 405 cm 2 ). 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.