Visceral and not subcutaneous abdominal adiposity reduction drives the benefits of a 1-year lifestyle modification program

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2012 Jun;20(6):1223-33. doi: 10.1038/oby.2011.396. Epub 2012 Jan 19.


Excess visceral adipose tissue (VAT) is associated with an increased cardiometabolic risk. The study examined whether changes in cardiometabolic risk markers after a 1-year lifestyle intervention in viscerally obese men were associated with changes in VAT or with changes in subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue (SAT). The relative contributions of changes in global adiposity vs. changes in cardiorespiratory fitness to changes in VAT were also quantified. One hundred and forty four men were selected on the basis of an increased waist circumference (≥ 90 cm) associated with dyslipidemia (triglycerides ≥ 1.69 and/or high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol <1.03 mmol/l); 117 men completed the 1-year intervention which consisted in a healthy eating, physical activity/exercise program. Body weight, body composition, and fat distribution were assessed by anthropometry and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA)/computed tomography. Cardiorespiratory fitness, plasma adipokine/inflammatory markers, fasting lipoprotein-lipid profile, and oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) were assessed. VAT volume decreased by 26%, cardiorespiratory fitness improved by 20% (P < 0.0001) after 1 year. Plasma adipokine/inflammatory markers, lipids/lipoproteins, and glucose homeostasis were improved. One-year changes in triglyceride (r = 0.29), apolipoprotein B (r = 0.21), 120-min OGTT-glucose (r = 0.27), and fasting insulin (r = 0.27) levels correlated with changes in VAT (all P < 0.05) after adjustment for changes in SAT. Using a multilinear regression model, VAT reduction was independently associated with SAT reduction and with improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness (R(2) = 0.58, P < 0.0001). Therefore, this healthy eating-physical activity/exercise program improved the cardiometabolic risk profile of viscerally obese men in relation to the reduction of VAT. Furthermore, the reduction in VAT was independently related to the reduction in global adiposity and to the improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Body Composition
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Dyslipidemias / blood*
  • Dyslipidemias / physiopathology
  • Exercise
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / diagnostic imaging
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / diagnostic imaging
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Subcutaneous Fat, Abdominal / diagnostic imaging
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triglycerides / blood*
  • Waist Circumference
  • Weight Loss


  • Biomarkers
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Triglycerides