Greater beneficial effects of visceral fat reduction compared with subcutaneous fat reduction on parameters of the metabolic syndrome: a study of weight reduction programmes in subjects with visceral and subcutaneous obesity

Diabet Med. 2005 Mar;22(3):266-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2004.01395.x.


Aims: To evaluate the effect of weight reduction on parameters of the metabolic syndrome in obese patients according to their pattern of abdominal fat distribution.

Methods: A longitudinal intervention study, consisting of a 12-week weight reduction programme, including lifestyle modification and adjuvant appetite suppressant, in 38 subjects with visceral obesity and 47 subjects with subcutaneous obesity. Visceral, subcutaneous and total adipose tissue areas were determined by CT scan at the level of L4-L5. Parameters for components of the metabolic syndrome were measured before and after weight reduction.

Results: Reductions in body weight, BMI and subcutaneous adipose tissue area were greater in the subcutaneous than in the visceral obesity group. In contrast, changes in fasting plasma glucose, insulin, and HOMA score were higher in the visceral than in the subcutaneous obesity group. Changes in visceral adipose tissue area were significantly related to changes in fasting plasma glucose, triglycerides and HOMA score.

Conclusions: Visceral fat reduction induced greater beneficial effects on parameters of the metabolic syndrome than subcutaneous fat reduction. Evaluation of changes in abdominal fat distribution is necessary when obese subjects enter a weight reduction programme.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen
  • Adipose Tissue / diagnostic imaging
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Appetite Depressants / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Composition*
  • Female
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diagnostic imaging
  • Metabolic Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Weight Loss


  • Appetite Depressants
  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Lipids