Neck circumference predicts thigh intramuscular adipose tissue in premenopausal women
Neck circumference is associated with thigh intramuscular adipose tissue (IMAT) volume in overweight and obese premenopausal women, a recent study has found.
The cross-sectional study included 142 premenopausal women (mean age, 38.1±5.8 years) who were overweight or obese. A metallic tape measure was used to measure neck circumference above the thyroid cartilage and in keeping with protocols of the International Society for Advancement of Kinanthropometry. Computed tomography was used for the measurement of thigh IMAT.
The unadjusted model showed that neck circumference, along with body mass index, waist circumference, fat mass, and fat mass index, were all significantly correlated with IMAT and visceral adipose tissue. This remained true even after adjusting for age.
Linear regression analysis returned a β coefficient of 0.41 (p≤0.001) for the association between neck circumference and IMAT. The corresponding coefficient value for VAT was 0.54 (p≤0.001). Further adjustments for height, fat mass, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity did not meaningfully change the principal results.
“The current investigation shows, for the first time, a positive association of neck circumference with thigh IMAT volume in overweight and obese premenopausal Caucasian women. These findings suggest that neck circumference could be a valid measure of ectopic fat deposition as well as abdominal body fat in overweight and obese premenopausal women,” the researchers said.
Important study limitations include its cross-sectional design, which precludes the conclusion of causality, and the narrow definition of the sample, which limits the generalizability of the findings. Future studies should work to address these limitations.