Different regional fat depots have different effects on lipid and glucose metabolism. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between body fat distribution as measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) and metabolic risk factors and to disclose whether there is any difference between groups with and without metabolic syndrome (MS).
A total of 292 participants (98 men, 194 women) over 19 years old underwent whole-body DEXA to evaluate body composition with respect to the whole body, leg, arm, and android regions. Anthropometry and blood tests for metabolic risks were measured.
One hundred and seven participants were diagnosed with MS. The MS group had significantly higher android fat (%) and had lower leg fat (%), arm fat (%), and appendicular (arms + legs) fat (%) than the non-MS group. Android fat (%) had a positive correlation with waist circumference (WC), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), glucose, log insulin, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), triglyceride (TG), and low density lipoprotein cholesterol, and had a negative correlation with high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Appendicular fat (%) had a negative correlation with WC, SBP, DBP, glucose, log insulin, HbA1c, and TG, and had a positive correlation with HDL cholesterol. The association of appendicular fat with metabolic risk was consistently observed in non-MS, but the association was not observed except for SBP, glucose and log insulin in MS.
In contrast with the adverse effects of android fat, appendicular fat distribution was associated with decreased risks of MS. The protective effect of appendicular fat against metabolic risk factors in non-MS was less characteristic in MS.