Visceral adiposity index predicts the conversion of metabolically healthy obesity to an unhealthy phenotype

Yu Mi Kang, Chang Hee Jung, Yun Kyung Cho, Jung Eun Jang, Jenie Yoonoo Hwang, Eun Hee Kim, Woo Je Lee, Joong-Yeol Park, Hong-Kyu Kim
PloS One 2017, 12 (6): e0179635

OBJECTIVE: Some individuals with metabolically healthy obesity (MHO) convert to metabolically unhealthy obesity (MUO) phenotype, and visceral adiposity is one of proposed mechanisms underlying such conversion. Visceral adipose index (VAI) is a novel mathematical model which estimates visceral adiposity based on anthropometric and lipid profiles. We aimed to determine the association of VAI-estimated visceral adiposity with the MHO-to-MUO conversion and the predictive value of VAI in estimating such unfavorable outcomes.

METHODS: A total of 2,204 Korean subjects with the MHO phenotype were enrolled and stratified by body mass index and metabolic health state according to Wildman criteria at baseline and last follow-up examinations. VAI was calculated at baseline.

RESULTS: Over a median follow-up period of 41.1 months, 46.0% of subjects converted to MUO phenotype. Higher VAI quartiles were associated with a greater proportion of subjects who underwent MHO-to-MUO conversion, and also with increased odds ratios for such conversion even after multivariate analyses. The optimal VAI cut off value was around 1.00, and VAI had a greater power in the prediction of MHO-to MUO conversion than waist circumference in both genders.

CONCLUSION: MHO phenotypes with high VAI values are associated with poor future metabolic outcomes. VAI-estimated visceral adiposity is well correlated with the prognosis of MHO subjects, and VAI has a good predictive value in determining the MHO-to-MUO conversion.

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