Visceral adiposity in persons with chronic spinal cord injury determined by dual energy X-Ray absorptiometry

Christopher M. Cirnigliaro, Michael F. Lafountaine, Donald R. Dengel, Tyler A. Bosch, Racine R. Emmons, Steven C. Kirshblum, Sue Sauer, Pierre Asselin, Ann M. Spungen, William A. Bauman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Objective To determine visceral adipose tissue (VAT) volume (VATvol) by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in spinal cord injured (SCI) and able-bodied (AB) participants and to explore the relationships between VATvol and routine anthropometric measures. Methods Sixty-three subjects with SCI and 126 healthy male AB controls were stratified as low risk [LR: waist circumference (WC) < 102 cm] and moderate to high risk (MHR: WC ≥ 102 cm) for identification of risk for cardiometabolic disease: AB-LR, SCI-LR, AB-MHR, and SCI-MHR. Anthropometrics and standard body composition measurements by DXA with analysis to derive VATvol were performed. Results Comparison of the four subgroups demonstrated the highest subcutaneous adipose tissue volume (SATvol) in the AB-MHR group (P < 0.01), and the highest VATvol in the SCI-MHR group (P < 0.01). Furthermore, when compared to the AB group, participants with SCI had a 27% increase in VATvol for every centimeter increase in WC and a 20% increase in VATvol for every unit increase in BMI. Conclusions Because cutoff values for the routine surrogate measures of adiposity underestimate visceral adiposity in persons with SCI, the risk of adverse metabolic consequences would also be underestimated, which necessitates adjustment of the these cutoff values or, preferably, to perform its direct measurement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1811-1817
Number of pages7
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

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© 2015 The Obesity Society.


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