Sex Differences In Body Fat Composition Predictive of Cardiometabolic Risk Profile Interview with:

Miriam Bredella, MD Associate Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School Department of Radiology Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, MA 02114

Dr. Bredella

Miriam Bredella, MD
Associate Professor of Radiology
Harvard Medical School
Department of Radiology
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA 02114 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: It is well known that body composition differs between men and women, with women having proportionally more fat and men more muscle mass.

But not the amount of fat but its distribution is an important determinant of cardiometabolic risk, with certain ectopic fat depots, such as visceral adipose tissue, fat within muscle cells – intramyocellular (IMCL), and liver fat, being more detrimental than others, such as femorogluteal subcutaneous adipose tissue.

We therefore wanted to study sex differences in body composition and cardiometabolic risk in men and women with obesity.

We found that at the same BMI, men had relatively higher visceral adipose tissue, IMCL, liver fat, muscle and lean mass, while women higher percent fat mass and higher subcutaneous adipose tissue. This female anthropometric phenotype was associated with a better cardiometabolic risk profile at similar BMI compared to men. However, ectopic fat depots were more strongly associated with adverse cardiometabolic risk factors in women compared to men What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: The female pattern of fat distribution is associated with improved cardiometabolic risk compared to men at similar BMI, while ectopic fat in women portends greater metabolic risk. So for women it is even more detrimental to have high visceral fat, intramuscular and liver fat. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: We need to examine underlying mechanisms for the sex differences in different fat depots on cardiometabolic risk so we can find targeted therapies, which might differ between men and women. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: The study was funded by NIH grants: R01 DK-095792, R01 HL-077674, K23 RR-23090, K24 DK-109940, UL1 RR025758, M01 RR01066. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


RSNA 2017  abstract publication:

Sex Differences in Body Composition and Association with Cardiometabolic Risk

Melanie Schorr | Laura Dichtel | Martin Torriani, MD | Karen K. Miller, MD | Miriam A. Bredella, MD

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.


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Last Updated on November 22, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD