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Location of body fat associated with cardiovascular risk even at normal body weight

CHICAGO The distribution of body fat in older men and women is associated with metabolic syndrome, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, even in normal weight individuals, according to the April 11 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Metabolic syndrome, a disorder that includes dyslipidemia (elevated blood lipid levels), insulin resistance and high blood pressure, affects 22 percent of adults in the U.S. and an even higher (42) percent of older men and women, according to background information in the article. In addition to overweight and obesity, patterns of fat distribution in middle-aged adults may confer additional risk for metabolic syndrome, but it is not known whether this is true for older individuals.

Bret H. Goodpaster, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and colleagues examined the association between the pattern of distribution of body fat and metabolic syndrome in 3,035 men and women aged 70 to 79. The distribution of body fat was determined using computed tomography (CT) scanning. Patients were examined and characterized as having metabolic syndrome if they met at least three of the following criteria: waist circumference greater than about 40.2 inches in men or 34.7 inches in women; elevated blood triglyceride levels; low high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels; high blood pressure, treated or untreated; and elevated blood sugar level, treated or untreated. Individuals were classified as normal weight, overweight or obese based on the basis of body mass index (BMI, calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters) with a BMI of less than 25.0 considered normal weight, overweight was defined as a BMI of 25.0-29.9 and obese was defined by a BMI of greater than 29.9.

Visceral fat (fat found in the deeper tissues and around the body's organs rather than just under the skin) was associated with metabolic syndrome in ol
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Contact: Frank Raczkiewicz
412-647-3555
JAMA and Archives Journals
11-Apr-2005


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