Assessment of abdominal fat development in young adolescents using magnetic resonance imaging

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2000 Dec;24(12):1653-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0801464.


Objective: To determine the patterns of change and the best anthropometric indicators of intra-abdominal fat deposition in young adolescents from ages 11-13 y.

Subjects: Subjects were 25 boys (mean age 13.7 +/- 0.32 y) and 17 girls (mean age of 13.7 +/- 0.23 y) who had taken part in a similar study 2 y earlier at ages 11.5 +/- 0.33 y and 11.5 +/- 0.27 y, respectively.

Methods: Intra-abdominal (IA) and subcutaneous adipose (SA) tissue areas and IA/SA ratio were determined through four tranverse magnetic resonance imaging scans on two occasions. Differences were investigated using t-tests and ANOVA. Skinfolds, girths and circumferences, body mass index and hydrostatic weighing were also recorded. Pearson correlation coefficients and regression equations were calculated to determine the best anthropometric indicators of intra-abdominal fat deposition.

Results: Intra-abdominal fat and subcutaneous fat areas had significantly increased in boys and girls by the second measure. Boys had deposited greater amounts of fat in intra-abdominal depots so that their intra-abdominal/subcutaneous ratio had increased significantly from 0.31 to 0.39. This had reduced in girls from 0.39 to 0.35. However, patterns of change were variable within sexes. Truncal skinfold sites (r = 0.54-0.70) emerged as the best field indicators of intra-abdominal fat deposition.

Conclusions: Patterns of intra-abdominal and subcutaneous fat distribution are identifiable in pubescent children using magnetic resonance imaging. An acceptable indication is provided by truncal skinfolds.

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen*
  • Adipose Tissue*
  • Adolescent
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Constitution
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Puberty
  • Reference Values
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Skinfold Thickness