Visceral fat is a strong predictor of insulin resistance regardless of cardiorespiratory fitness in non-diabetic people

J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2010;56(2):109-16. doi: 10.3177/jnsv.56.109.


Abdominal adiposity and low cardiorespiratory fitness are associated with insulin resistance in people with impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes. However, little is known about which factor precedes insulin resistance in people with impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes, and which is the stronger predictor of insulin resistance in non-diabetic people. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between insulin resistance and cardiorespiratory fitness, visceral fat, and subcutaneous fat in non-diabetic people. Subjects included 87 men and 77 women aged 30-72 y (mean+/-SD, 51.3+/-12.3 y). Cardiorespiratory fitness was assessed by measuring the maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) in a progressive continuous test to exhaustion on a cycle ergometer. The visceral and subcutaneous fat areas were measured by magnetic resonance imaging. The homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-R) was calculated from the fasting concentrations of glucose and insulin. Stepwise multiple linear regression analysis revealed that visceral and subcutaneous fat were significant correlates of HOMA-R, explaining 24% and 6% of the variance, respectively, whereas sex, age, and VO2max were not significant independent determinants. Abdominal fat deposition rather than cardiorespiratory fitness is a significant predictor of insulin resistance in non-diabetic people; visceral fat is the most important factor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Blood Glucose
  • Body Composition
  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Exercise Test / methods
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / anatomy & histology
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / metabolism*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Respiratory Physiological Phenomena


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin