Generalized abdominal visceral fat prediction models for black and white adults aged 17-65 y: The HERITAGE Family Study

P. R. Stanforth, A. S. Jackson, J. S. Green, J. Gagnon, T. Rankinen, J. P. Desprès, C. Bouchard, A. S. Leon, D. C. Rao, J. S. Skinner, J. H. Wilmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To determine if the relationship between abdominal visceral fat (AVF) and measures of adiposity are different between Black and White subjects and to develop valid field prediction models that accurately identify those individuals with AVF levels associated with high risk for chronic disease. DESIGN: Cross-sectional measurements obtained from 91 Black men, 137 Black women, 227 White men, and 237 White women subjects, ages 17-65 y, who were participants in the HERITAGE Family Study, both at baseline and following 20 weeks of endurance training. MEASURMENTS: AVF, abdominal subcutaneous fat (ASF), abdominal total fat (ATF), and sagittal diameter (SagD) were measured by computed tomography (CT). Body density was determined by hydrostatic weighing and was used to estimate relative body fat. Arm, waist (WC), and hip circumferences and skinfold thickness measures were taken, and BMI was calculated from weight (kg) and height (m2). Since CT abdominal fat variables were skewed, a natural log transformation (Ln) was used to produce a normal distribution. The General Linear Model (GLM) procedure was used to test the relationship between AVF and two different groups of variables - CT and anthropometric. RESULTS: The AVF of White men and women was significantly higher than that of Black men and women, independent of BMI, WHR, WC, and age, and was greater for men than for women. The CT model showed that the combination of SagD, Ln (ASF), age, and race accounted for 84 and 75% of the variance in AVF in men and women, respectively. The anthropometric model provided two valid generalized field AVF prediction equations. The Field-I equation, which included BMI, WHR, age and race, had an r2 of 0.78 and 0.73 for men and women, respectively. The Field-II equation, which included BMI (women only), WC, age, and race, had an r2 of 0.78 and 0.72 for men and women, respectively. The field model equations became less accurate as the estimated AVF increased. CONCLUSIONS: (1) At the same age and level of adiposity, Black men and women have less AVF than White men and women. These differences are greater in men than in women. (2) The field regression equations can be generalized to the diverse group of adults studied, both in an untrained and trained state. However, their accuracy decreases with increasing levels of AVF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)925-932
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The HERITAGE Family Study is supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute through the following grants: HL45670 (C Bouchard, PI); HL47323 (AS Leon, PI); HL47317 (DC Rao, PI); HL47327 (JS Skinner, PI); and HL47321 (JH Wilmore, PI). Claude Bouchard is partially supported by the George A Bray Chair in Nutrition. Further, Art Leon is partially supported by the Henry L Taylor Professorship in Exercise Science and Health Enhancement. Thanks are also expressed to all of the co-principal investigators, investigators, co-investigators, local project coordinators, research assistants, laboratory technicians, and secretaries who have contributed to this study (see Bouchard et al29). Finally, the HERITAGE consortium is very thankful to those hard-working families whose participation has made these data possible.


  • Age
  • Computed tomography
  • Intraabdominal adipose tissue
  • Race


Dive into the research topics of 'Generalized abdominal visceral fat prediction models for black and white adults aged 17-65 y: The HERITAGE Family Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this