Is the relationship between adipose tissue and waist girth altered by weight loss in obese men?

Obes Res. 2001 Sep;9(9):526-34. doi: 10.1038/oby.2001.69.


Objective: The aim of the present study was to examine whether the association of waist girth to visceral adipose tissue (AT) accumulation was altered by weight loss in abdominally obese men.

Research methods and procedures: We studied 45 dyslipidemic abdominally obese men (45.4 +/- 6.2 years of age; body mass index [BMI], 31.3 +/- 3.0 kg/m(2); waist circumference, 103.4 +/- 7.6 cm; total cholesterol, <6.72 mM; triglycerides, > or =1.7 mM but < or =5.65 mM; high density lipoprotein cholesterol, < or =1.2 mM). Each of them followed nutritional recommendations combined with a prescription of gemfibrozil (1200 mg/d) or a placebo for 1 year. After 6 months, a training exercise program was added at a frequency of four sessions of 60 minutes per week at 50% of maximal oxygen uptake.

Results: In response to the 1-year intervention program, men showed significant reductions in body weight, BMI, waist circumference, and in the partial volume of visceral and abdominal subcutaneous AT measured from two abdominal computed tomography scans performed at lumbar vertebra (L)2 to L3 and L4 to L5 levels. No change in waist-to-hip ratio was observed. Changes in visceral AT were strongly correlated with changes in body weight, BMI, and waist circumference (0.83 < r < 0.85; p < 0.001). However, a weak association was noted between waist-to-hip ratio and changes in visceral AT (r = 0.40; p < 0.05). There was no change in slopes or in intercepts before and after treatment in the relationships between volume or area of abdominal AT and anthropometric markers.

Discussion: Despite a greater level of the partial volume of subcutaneous AT than of the partial volume of visceral AT at baseline (p < 0.001), the greater relative reduction in the visceral AT volume in comparison with the subcutaneous AT volume suggested a preferential mobilization of visceral AT with weight loss in these abdominally obese men. The close relationship between changes in the partial volume of visceral AT and changes in cross-sectional areas of visceral AT measured at L2 to L3 (r = 0.94; p < 0.001) or L4 to L5 (r = 0.88; p < 0.001) suggests that a single computed tomography scan performed at L2 to L3 or L4 to L5 could predict changes in the partial volume of visceral AT secondary to weight loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology*
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Composition
  • Body Constitution*
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Radiography, Abdominal
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Viscera
  • Weight Loss / physiology*