In the early 1980s, we analyzed the metabolic profile of 930 men and women and concluded that an abdominal distribution of fat for a given BMI is associated with increased insulin resistance and risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The correlation between abdominal fat and metabolic dysfunction has since been validated in many studies, and waist circumference is now a criterion for the diagnosis of metabolic syndrome. Several mechanisms for this relationship have been postulated; however, we now know that visceral fat is only one of many ectopic fat depots used when the subcutaneous adipose tissue cannot accommodate excess fat because of its limited expandability.
Association between waist circumference and SAT adipose cell size.
Waist circumference and SAT adipose cell size were determined in healthy, nonobese (BMI <30 kg/m2) men. Data are from ref.