European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 57, Issue 1, pp 191–198 | Cite as

Anthropometrically predicted visceral adipose tissue and blood-based biomarkers: a cross-sectional analysis

  • Justin C. BrownEmail author
  • Michael O. Harhay
  • Meera N. Harhay
Original Contribution



We hypothesized that anthropometrically predicted visceral adipose tissue (apVAT) accounts for more variance in blood-based biomarkers of glucose homeostasis, inflammation, and lipid metabolism than body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), and the combination of BMI and WC (BMI + WC).


This was a cross-sectional analysis of 10,624 males and females who participated in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III; 1988–1994). apVAT was predicted from a validated regression equation that included age, height, weight, waist, and thigh circumferences. Bootstrapped linear regression models were used to compare the proportion of variance (R 2) in biomarkers explained by apVAT, BMI, WC, and BMI + WC.


apVAT accounted for more variance in biomarkers of glucose homeostasis than BMI (∆R 2 = 8.4–11.8 %; P < 0.001), WC (∆R 2 = 5.5–8.4 %; P < 0.001), and BMI + WC (∆R 2 = 5.1–7.7 %; P < 0.001). apVAT accounted for more variance in biomarkers of inflammation than BMI (ΔR 2 = 3.8 %; P < 0.001), WC (ΔR 2 = 3.1 %; P < 0.001), and BMI + WC (ΔR 2 = 2.9 %; P < 0.001). apVAT accounted for more variance in biomarkers of lipid metabolism than BMI (ΔR 2 = 2.9–9.2 %; P < 0.001), WC (ΔR 2 = 2.9–5.2 %; P < 0.001), and BMI + WC (ΔR 2 = 2.4–4.1 %; P ≤ 0.01).


apVAT, estimated with simple and widely used anthropometric measures, accounts for more variance in blood-based biomarkers than BMI, WC, and BMI + WC. Clinicians and researchers may consider utilizing apVAT to characterize cardio-metabolic health, particularly in settings with limited availability of imaging and laboratory data.


Adiposity Body composition Waist–hip ratio Population-based 



Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Cancer Institute (F31-CA192560, R21-CA182726), National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (F31-HL127947), and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (K23-DK105207) of the National Institutes of Health.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

394_2016_1308_MOESM1_ESM.docx (51 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 50 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Population Sciences, Department of Medical OncologyDana-Farber Cancer InstituteBostonUSA
  2. 2.Center for Clinical Epidemiology and BiostatisticsUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Division of Nephrology, Department of MedicineDrexel University College of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA

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