The discriminatory power of visceral adipose tissue area vs anthropometric measures as a diagnostic marker for metabolic syndrome in South African women
CITATION: Davidson, F. E., et al. 2019. The discriminatory power of visceral adipose tissue area vs anthropometric measures as a diagnostic marker for metabolic syndrome in South African women. Diabetology and Metabolic Syndrome, 11:93, doi:10.1186/s13098-019-0483-1.
The original publication is available at https://dmsjournal.biomedcentral.com
Background: A number of studies have shown central adiposity, in particular visceral adipose tissue (VAT) accumulation to be a hallmark of metabolic syndrome (MetS). In clinical practice, waist circumference (WC) is used as a proxy for VAT. Aim: To compare the ability of dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA)-derived VAT area and anthropometric measures of adiposity for diagnosing MetS in a sample of high risk South African women. Methods: MetS was quantified using the Joint Interim Statement (JIS) criteria. Fasting glucose, insulin and lipid profile were measured in 204 post-menopausal women. Anthropometry measures included body mass index (BMI), WC, waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) and a body shape index (ABSI). The area under the curve (AUC) was used to assess their performance in detecting any two components of MetS (excluding WC). Optimal WC and VAT area cut-points were derived to compare their performance for diagnosing MetS and to compare to internationally recognised cut-points. Results: The highest AUC for the prediction of MetS was recorded for VAT, followed by WHtR and WC (AUC, 0.767, 0.747 and 0.738 respectively), but these did not differ significantly (all p ≥ 0.192). In contrast, VAT was significantly better than BMI (p = 0.028), hip (p = 0.0004) and ABSI (p < 0.0001). The optimal WC (94.4 cm) and VAT area (174 cm2 based on the Youden’s index method and 175.50 cm2 based on the CTL approach) cut-points performed similarly in detecting MetS. Conclusion: DXA-derived VAT and WC had the same overall performance in discriminating the presence of any 2 MetS components in high risk South African women. These findings support the current recommendations of using WC rather than VAT for MetS risk screening, as it is cheap, accessible and easy to measure.