Measurement of Fat Distribution

Fat patterning, the distribution of fat, is measured using either imaging or anthropometric


Figure 1 The apple (android) and pear (gynoid) body shapes.

techniques. Measurement has focused on assessment and differentiation of subcutaneous and intraabdominal (visceral) depots; however, recently measurement of fat residing in muscle has become of interest. Imaging techniques have the advantage of providing separate measurements of fat in these three different depots, but they remain too expensive for use in most clinical and community settings. Anthropometric measurements cannot provide a direct assessment of the amount of fat in different depots, but they can provide variables that correlate with assessments from imagining techniques and are quick, inexpensive, and noninvasive.

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