The estimation of visceral adipose tissue with a body composition monitor predicts the metabolic syndrome

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Central obesity has a higher risk of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) and cardiovascular diseases. It is estimated by measuring waist circumference (WC) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), which are operator-dependent. The present study aimed to validate a body composition monitor (BCM) as a tool for estimating visceral adipose tissue (VAT), as well as to assess its capacity to predict the MetS and its correlation with anthropometric parameters.


We measured WC, WHR and body mass index (BMI) in 60 recruited subjects. BCM estimated VAT (1–30 points). Body composition and resting energy expenditure (REE) were compared with bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and indirect calorimetry, respectively. VAT was estimated by BCM (range 1–30 points), We evaluated the capability of VAT, WC, BMI and WHR to predict the MetS by ATP-III criteria.


The mean (SD) age of subjects was 36.8 (12.9) years, 80% were female, and 47% had the MetS. Body composition and REE estimated by BCM had a significant correlation with BIA (r = 0.85–0.91, P< 0.001) and REE (r = 0.86, P < 0.001), respectively, even after adjusting by sex. VAT estimation by BCM was positively correlated with WC (r = 0.75, P< 0.001) and WHR (r = 0.61, P < 0.001). The area under the receiver operator characteristic curves to predict the MetS was 0.93 for VAT, 0.81 for WC, 0.76 for WHR and 0.74 for BMI. VAT ≥10 points had a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 82% for predicting the MetS.


VAT estimation by BCM efficiently predicts the MetS and correlates with anthropometric parameters of central obesity. Its routine use could facilitate cardiovascular risk estimation and follow-up in overweight and obese patients in ambulatory practice.

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