Abstract P266: Physical Activity Intensity Is Associated With Visceral Fat Accumulation In A Multi-ethnic Cohort
Introduction: Excess accumulation of visceral adipose tissue (VAT) has been found to increase the risk of cardiometabolic disease. We have previously reported that Chinese and South Asians have higher amounts of VAT for a given body size compared to Europeans. Exercise has been shown to preferentially reduce VAT in a dose-response relationship with the intensity of physical activity (PA). The purpose of this study is to examine how the intensity of PA is associated with the amount of VAT in men and women of Chinese, European and South Asian origin.
Methods/Results: The study population were 603 apparently healthy males and females between 30 and 65 years of age of Chinese (n = 207), European (n = 200), and South Asian (n = 196) origin who were part of the Multi-cultural Health Assessment Trial. PA was assessed using the Modifiable PA Questionnaire. Metabolic equivalents (METs) of reported activities were determined from the Ainsworth Compendium and were categorized into moderate (3–6 METs) and vigorous (>6 METs) intensities and reported as METs per week. Analysis of variance was used to determine differences in VAT and PA measures between ethnic groups. Linear regression analyses were used to explore the relationship between visceral fat and PA intensity. Moderate (p<0.001), vigorous (p<0.01) and total PA (p<0.01) differed significantly between all groups. Chinese and South Asians had greater amounts of VAT than Europeans adjusted for age, sex, BMI and income. Both moderate and vigorous PA were negatively associated with VAT after adjustment for confounders. When both moderate and vigorous PA were added to the model, the difference in VAT between Chinese and Europeans was no longer apparent (p=0.114). However, South Asians still had a significantly greater amount of VAT (p<0.001).
Conclusion: Both PA and VAT differed among the ethnic groups. After consideration for differences in PA, there was no longer any difference in VAT between Chinese and Europeans suggesting that the higher amount of VAT observed in the Chinese population is a consequence of low PA levels. Consideration of PA did not affect differences in VAT in the South Asians and may indicate that other factors (whether dietary or genetic) play a role in the higher VAT amounts in South Asians.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.