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Approved research

Role of adipose tissue distribution in abdominal and lower body compartments for metabolic health status in normal weight and obese individuals in the UK Biobank imaging cohort

Principal Investigator: Ms Anika Zembic
Approved Research ID: 52152
Approval date: October 17th 2019

Lay summary

Overweight and obesity can lead to major health problems and diseases, however not everyone with increased body weight develops metabolic complications such as high blood pressure, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease. Conversely, there is also a considerable amount of people who suffer from these complications without being visibly or according to BMI overweight or obese. Our analysis of the UK Biobank imaging cohort aims to investigate whether these inconsistencies can be explained by the way our bodies store fat in different compartments. There is evidence that particularly abdominal adiposity and fat deposition between and within internal organs is associated with negative metabolic outcomes, whereas increased fat storage in the lower body/legs might have a protective effect. Within the next 12 months we aim to establish the prevalence of metabolic health in each BMI-group of the imaging cohort and then investigate associations between body fat distribution and the presence or absence of metabolic health. We are aiming to specify which phenotypes have an increased risk of developing metabolic diseases in order to better prevent, diagnose and treat those associated diseases, which is in line with the stated purpose of the UK Biobank.