Predicting intra-abdominal fatness from anthropometric measures: the influence of stature

T.S. Han, G McNeill, J C Seidell, M.E.J. Lean

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To investigate the influence of height on the relationships between the intra-abdominal fat and anthropometric measures.

SUBJECTS: Twenty healthy female volunteers aged 20-51 y from Aberdeen, and 71 men and 34 women aged 19-85 y from Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Intra-abdominal fat volumes by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in Aberdeen and cross-sectional areas at L4-L5 level by computerised tomography (CT) in Nijmegen, height, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, waist sagittal and transverse diameters, waist to hip ratio, and skinfolds.

RESULTS: In the MRI study the women with BMI 20-33 kg/m2, waist circumference 62-97 cm, height 148-172 cm, and intra-abdominal fat volume 0.07-2.66 kg, waist circumference gave the highest correlation of simple indices with intra-abdominal fat volume, explaining 77.8% of variance. Single cross-sectional MRI cuts predicted volume with r = 0.94-0.99. Height in various levels of index power was not related to waist circumference, waist diameters, BMI, or skinfolds and did not improve prediction of intra-abdominal fat volume or of cross-sectional intra-abdominal fat area at any level. The CT study of men and women with BMI 18-32 kg/m2 and 19-38 kg/m2, waist circumference 71-112 cm and 74-125 cm, height 158-197 cm and 151-182 cm, and intra-abdominal fat area 13-274 cm2 and 19-221 cm2 respectively, height also had little influence on the relationships of intra-abdominal fat area with waist circumference or with any other indices of adiposity in linear or quadratic models. Compared to younger subjects, intra-abdominal fat area was higher in older subjects for a given waist circumference.

CONCLUSIONS: Height does not importantly influence the differences in measures of adiposity or intra-abdominal fat volume in women, or intra-abdominal fat area in both sexes. Age does influence the prediction of intra-abdominal fat from waist circumference, but waist circumference alone has a predictable simple relationship with intra-abdominal fat volume or area, which is likely to relate to the prediction of health risk for health promotion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-93
Number of pages7
JournalInternational journal of obesity and related metabolic disorders : journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1997


  • Abdomen
  • Adipose Tissue
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Constitution
  • Body Height
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Comparative Study
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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