Assessment of intra-abdominal and subcutaneous abdominal fat: relation between anthropometry and computed tomography

Am J Clin Nutr. 1987 Jan;45(1):7-13. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/45.1.7.


The ability to distinguish between intra-abdominal and subcutaneous abdominal fat may be important in epidemiologic and clinical research. In this study anthropometric measurements were taken from 71 men and 34 women presenting for routine computed tomography (CT). Areas of abdominal fat were calculated from CT scans made at the level of the L4 vertebra. The amounts of intra-abdominal and subcutaneous abdominal fat could be accurately predicted from several circumferences, skinfold measurements, body mass index, and age (R2 ranged from 0.79 to 0.84). In addition, it was found that the area of intra-abdominal fat on the CT scan was related to the waist:hip circumference ratio (r = 0.75 in men, r = 0.55 in women) and to the waist:thigh circumference ratio (r = 0.55 in men, r = 0.70 in women). The correlations of the circumference ratios with the areas of subcutaneous fat were invariably lower.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / anatomy & histology*
  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology*
  • Adipose Tissue / diagnostic imaging
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anthropometry*
  • Body Weight
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography, Abdominal
  • Regression Analysis
  • Skinfold Thickness
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*