Abdominal fat deposition in 11-year-old children

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1993 Jan;17(1):11-6.


Although the metabolic complications accompanying visceral deposition of fat are well-established, the onset and extent of such fat patterning in children has not been fully documented. This has been due to the problem of computerized tomography exposing children to a prohibitive radiation risk. Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has provided a feasible alternative. Specifically, the purposes of this study were to use MRI (i) to assess the extent of intra-abdominal (IA) and subcutaneous abdominal (SA) fat deposition in 11-year-old boys and girls, and (ii) to identify the most useful anthropometric indicators of IA adiposity in children. Twenty-five boys and 25 girls were selected to represent, by quintiles, the body mass index range for their age. IA fat, SA fat, and total cross-sectional areas were measured from an MRI scan at the umbilicus. Body density was assessed by hydrostatic weighing, and skinfold thicknesses, circumferences and related ratios, and stage of sexual maturity were measured. Results showed that a wide variation in IA fat deposition was present with amounts ranging from 6 to 58 cm2 (mean = 17.8 +/- 10.0) for boys and 15 to 50 cm2 (mean = 24.8 +/- 8.8) for girls. Percentage of cross-sectional area taken up by visceral fat appears to be less than in normal weight adults. Fourteen children had intra-abdominal/subcutaneous abdominal fat ratios that have been associated with higher health risk in obese adults. Waist-hip circumference ratio (WHR), which is widely used as an indicator of IA deposition in adults, was not a useful predictor in these children.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / anatomy & histology*
  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology*
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male