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Fat Distribution and Type Puts Women at Higher Cardiometabolic Risk

In This Article

  • Research has shown that how fat is distributed throughout the body may be a health threat
  • A new study out of Mass General finds that gender may influence how fat is distributed and thus influence metabolic risk
  • Ectopic fat found correlated with a higher risk for cardiometabolic diseases in women
  • Sarcopenic obesity is associated with higher cardiometabolic risk in women

Research has shown that fat distribution in a body may be a health threat. For example, people with fat accumulation in and around their abdomen have a higher risk for coronary artery disease. A new research study presented at RSNA 2017, led by Miriam A. Bredella, MD, radiologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital, finds that gender may dictate the distribution of fat in the body, thus influencing our cardiometabolic risk.

"We hypothesized that there are gender-based differences in body composition and ectopic fat depots and that these could be associated with gender-specific risk profiles for diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke," says Bredella.

The main finding of the study is that while men have more ectopic fat, they were not at an increased risk of cardiometabolic disease. But the same ectopic fat in women correlated with a higher cardiometabolic risk.

similar study presented by Dr. Bredella looked at the relationship between sarcopenic obesity (combination of low muscle mass and high fat mass) and cardiometabolic health. This research found that sarcopenic obesity is associated with higher cardiometabolic risk, more so in women.

Learn more about Dr. Bredella

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