Objective: To investigate the usefulness of anthropometry and DXA in predicting intra-abdominal fat (IAF) in obese men and women.
Research methods and procedures: Observational, cross sectional study of 22 women and 18 men with a body mass index of 30 or above. IAF from 20 cm above and 10 cm below the L4 to L5 intervertebral disc was measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a reference method. Central abdominal fat was measured from the upper border of L2 to the lower border of L4 by DXA. Waist and hip circumferences were also measured.
Results: In obese women DXA, waist circumference and waist-hip ratio were equally well correlated with IAF (r = 0.74, 0.75, and 0.70, respectively). In obese men DXA was moderately correlated with IAF measured by MRI (r = 0.46), whereas waist circumference and waist-hip ratio were not significantly correlated with IAF.
Discussion: The prediction of IAF in obese subjects was highly dependent on sex more than in non-obese persons. Anthropometry and DXA were equally useful in obese women, whereas anthropometry had no predictive power and DXA was the only acceptable predictor of IAF in obese men.