Increased visceral adipose tissue (VAT) precedes development of insulin resistance and dyslipidemia in adults. The associations of abdominal adiposity derived from dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), including VAT, subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue (SAAT) and total abdominal adipose tissue (TAAT) with cardio-metabolic risk in adolescents are understudied.
We examined the cross-sectional associations of DXA-measured abdominal adiposity with cardio-metabolic risk and related markers in early adolescence (mean [SD] age 13.0 [0.7] years).
We collected data from 740 adolescents (374 girls and 366 boys) in Project Viva, a U.S. pre-birth cohort. We used DXA estimates of VAT, SAAT and TAAT area. We conducted overall and sex-stratified linear regression models, adjusting for age, sex (in overall models), race/ethnicity, puberty score and body mass index (BMI) z-score.
Mean BMI z-score was 0.59 (1.28). After adjustment, greater VAT (per 1 SD score) was associated with higher metabolic risk z-score (β 0.14 units; 95% CI 0.08, 0.20), higher log high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (β 0.51 mg/L; 0.36, 0.66) and log leptin (β 0.36 ng/mL; 0.27, 0.44), and lower log adiponectin (β -0.08 ug/mL; -0.13, -0.02). SAAT and TAAT showed similar associations as VAT with comparable or greater effect sizes.
In early adolescence, DXA-measured VAT, SAAT and TAAT are associated with cardio-metabolic risk and related markers, independent of current BMI. Among two adolescents with the same BMI, there is an associated higher cardio-metabolic risk in the adolescent with greater DXA-measured abdominal adiposity.