Evaluation of the accuracy of anthropometric clinical indicators of visceral fat in adults and elderly

PLoS One. 2014 Jul 31;9(7):e103499. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0103499. eCollection 2014.


Background: Visceral obesity is associated with higher occurrence of cardiovascular events. There are few studies about the accuracy of anthropometric clinical indicators, using Computed Tomography (CT) as the gold standard. We aimed to determine the accuracy of anthropometric clinical indicators for discrimination of visceral obesity.

Methods: Cross-sectional study with 191 adults and elderly of both sexes. Variables: area of visceral adipose tissue (VAT) identified by CT, Waist-to-Height Ratio (WHtR), Conicity index (C index), Lipid Accumulation Product (LAP) and Visceral Adiposity Index (VAI). ROC analyzes.

Results: There were a strong correlation between adiposity indicators and VAT area. Higher accuracy of C index and WHtR (AUC≥0.81) than the LAP and the VAI was observed. The higher AUC of LAP and VAI were observed among elderly with areas of 0.88 (CI: 0.766-0.944) and 0.83 (CI: 0.705-0.955) in men and 0.80 (CI: 0.672-0.930) and 0.71 (CI: 0.566-0.856) in women, respectively. The cutoffs of C index were 1.30 in elderly, in both sexes, with sensitivity ≥92%, the LAP ranged from 26.4 to 37.4 in men and from 40.6 to 44.0 in women and the VAI was 1.24 to 1.45 (sens≥76.9%) in men and 1.46 to 1.84 in women.

Conclusion: Both the anthropometric indicators, C Index and WHtR, as well as LAP and VAI had high accuracy in visceral obesity discrimination. So, they are effective in cardiovascular risk assessment and in the follow-up for individual and collective clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anthropometry*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / anatomy & histology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged

Grant support

This study was funded by the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development and by Foundation Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel by Ministry of Education through research scholarship to AKCR. The funding source had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.