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Published Online: 20 December 2022

Differences of Regional Fat Distribution Measured by Magnetic Resonance Imaging According to Obese Phenotype in Koreans

Publication: Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders
Volume 20, Issue Number 10


Background: Obesity is commonly associated with a high risk of metabolic disorders, and obesity-related metabolic abnormalities are affected by some specific obesity phenotypes, regional fat distribution, and body mass index. However, few studies have investigated the relationship between obesity phenotypes and regional fat distribution in Korean subjects. This study aimed to assess regional fat distribution by gender using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and to identify a link between fat distribution and metabolic disorders in Korean subjects.
Methods: This study included 35 Korean subjects (20 women, 15 men) who were classified into two groups by gender, and further divided into two groups based on their obesity phenotype: a metabolically abnormal obesity (MAO) and metabolically healthy obesity (MHO) group. Fat distribution was measured using MRI. The blood parameters were measured using a commercially available kit.
Results: Women in the MAO group had more risk factors for metabolic abnormalities than those in the MHO group. Serum glucose, triglyceride, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels were also significantly higher in women with MAO than in those with MHO. The intermuscular adipose tissue (IMAT) of women with MAO was significantly higher than that of women with MHO. Serum HDL-C level was negatively correlated with IMAT, whereas leptin showed a positive correlation with IMAT in all subjects.
Conclusions: Metabolic abnormalities according to obesity phenotype posed a higher risk in women than that in men. These findings suggest that an understanding of gender differences in relation to the association between obesity and metabolic risk would be helpful to reduce the prevalence of obesity.

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Published In

cover image Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders
Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders
Volume 20Issue Number 10December 2022
Pages: 551 - 557
PubMed: 36269325


Published online: 20 December 2022
Published in print: December 2022
Published ahead of print: 20 October 2022


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    Data Access Statement

    The data sets used or analyzed during this study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.



    Ha-Neul Choi, PhD
    Department of Food and Nutrition, Changwon National University, Changwon, Korea.
    Hyunjung Lim, PhD
    Department of Medical Nutrition, Graduate School of East-West Medical Science, Kyung Hee University, Yong-in, Korea.
    Research Institute of Medical Nutrition, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea.
    Young-Seol Kim, MD, PhD
    Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Kyung Hee University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
    Sang-Youl Rhee, MD, PhD
    Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Kyung Hee University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
    Department of Food and Nutrition, Changwon National University, Changwon, Korea.
    Interdisciplinary Program in Senior Human Ecology (BK21 Four Program), Changwon National University, Changwon, Korea.


    Address correspondence to: Jung-Eun Yim, PhD, Department of Food and Nutrition, Changwon National University, Changwon 51140, Korea [email protected]

    Authors' Contributions

    H.-N.C. contributed to data analysis and writing of the article. H.L. was involved in study design and data analysis. Y.-S.K. carried out study design, data collection, and data analysis of the study. S.-Y.R. was in charge of study design and data collection. J.-E.Y. took care of study design, data collection, data analysis, article writing, and supervision of the study.

    Author Disclosure Statement

    The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

    Funding Information

    This study was supported by the NRF grant funded by the Korea government (NRF-2016R1D1A1B03935660).

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