Absolute value of visceral fat area measured on computed tomography scans and obesity-related cardiovascular risk factors in large-scale Japanese general population (the VACATION-J study)

Ann Med. 2012 Feb;44(1):82-92. doi: 10.3109/07853890.2010.526138. Epub 2010 Oct 22.


Background: The management of cardiovascular risk factors is important for prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases (ACVD). Visceral fat accumulation plays an important role in the clustering of cardiovascular risk factors, leading to ACVD. The present study investigated the gender- and age-specific relationship between obesity-related cardiovascular risk factor accumulation and computed tomography (CT)-measured fat distribution in a large-scale Japanese general population.

Methods and results: Fat distribution was measured on CT scans in 12,443 subjects (males/females = 10,080/2,363), who underwent medical health check-up at 9 centers in Japan. The investigated obesity-related cardiovascular risk factors were hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, and elevated blood pressure. Visceral fat area (VFA) for all males and old females showed almost symmetric distribution, while that of young females showed skewed distribution with a marked left shift. Only a small proportion of young females had large visceral fat and cardiovascular risk accumulation. The mean number of risk factors exceeded 1.0 at around 100 cm(2) for VFA in all groups, irrespective of gender, age (cut-off age 55), and BMI (cut-off BMI 25 kg/m(2)).

Conclusions: In this large-scale Japan-wide general population study, an absolute VFA value of about 100 cm(2) equated with obesity-related cardiovascular risk factor accumulation, irrespective of gender, age, and BMI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group
  • Atherosclerosis / etiology*
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / anatomy & histology*
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / diagnostic imaging
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / diagnostic imaging
  • Obesity / ethnology
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Subcutaneous Fat / anatomy & histology*
  • Subcutaneous Fat / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Young Adult