Intra-abdominal fat area is a predictor for new onset of individual components of metabolic syndrome: MEtabolic syndRome and abdominaL ObesiTy (MERLOT study)

Proc Jpn Acad Ser B Phys Biol Sci. 2012;88(8):454-61. doi: 10.2183/pjab.88.454.


Objective: To investigate the significance of intra-abdominal fat area (IAFA) on new onset of individual components of the metabolic syndrome: high blood pressure, dyslipidemia, or hyperglycemia.

Methods: We conducted a longitudinal study using checkup data of a hospital from 1994 to 2010. Of 25,255 subjects, we examined 1,380 Japanese, who underwent computed tomography to measure IAFA and had no metabolic syndrome components at baseline.

Results: During 3.6 years of the mean follow-up period, one of metabolic syndrome components occurred in 752 subjects. Of three components, high blood pressure was more prevalent. The multiple Cox regression analysis disclosed that IAFA is significantly associated with onset of metabolic syndrome components (HR: 1.05 per 10 cm(2), 95%CI: 1.03-1.07). This finding was independent of BMI, and significant even in non-obese individuals with body mass index <25 kg/m(2).

Conclusions: MERLOT study demonstrates that IAFA is an independent predictor for new onset of individual components of the metabolic syndrome, even in non-obese healthy Japanese.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Index
  • Dyslipidemias / complications
  • Female
  • Health
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / complications
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / metabolism*
  • Japan
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diagnostic imaging
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Abdominal / complications
  • Obesity, Abdominal / metabolism*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Young Adult