Background: Fat accumulation in android compartments may confer increased metabolic risk. The incremental utility of measuring regional fat deposition in association with metabolic syndrome (MS) has not been well described particularly in an elderly population.
Methods and findings: As part of the Korean Longitudinal Study on Health and Aging, which is a community-based cohort study of people aged more than 65 years, subjects (287 male, 75.9±8.6 years and 278 female, 76.0±8.8 years) with regional body composition data using Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry for android/gynoid area, computed tomography for visceral/subcutaneous adipose tissue (VAT/SAT), and cardiometabolic markers including adiponectin and high-sensitivity CRP were enrolled. We investigated the relationship between regional body composition and MS in multivariate regression models. Mean VAT and SAT area was 131.4±65.5 cm(2) and 126.9±55.2 cm(2) in men (P = 0.045) and 120.0±46.7 cm(2) and 211.8±65.9 cm(2) in women (P<0.01). Mean android and gynoid fat amount was 1.8±0.8 kg and 2.5±0.8 kg in men and 2.0±0.6 kg and 3.3±0.8 kg in women, respectively (both P<0.01). VAT area and android fat amount was strongly correlated with most metabolic risk factors compared to SAT or gynoid fat. Furthermore, android fat amount was significantly associated with clustering of MS components after adjustment for multiple parameters including age, gender, adiponectin, hsCRP, a surrogate marker of insulin resistance, whole body fat mass and VAT area.
Conclusions: Our findings are consistent with the hypothesized role of android fat as a pathogenic fat depot in the MS. Measurement of android fat may provide a more complete understanding of metabolic risk associated with variations in fat distribution.