The interrelations between obesity, glucose intolerance, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and insulin resistance are well recognized. These relationships are of particular interest in Hong Kong's Chinese population, in whom increasing affluence has coincided with a marked increase in the prevalence of NIDDM. We designed a pilot study to examine the relationships between visceral fat and cardiovascular risk factors in Chinese NIDDM patients.


We studied 21 Chinese NIDDM patients whose visceral fat was quantified by magnetic resonance imaging. Cardiovascular risk factors including plasma lipids and 24-h ambulatory blood pressure (BP) were measured. In addition, insulin resistance was determined by a short insulin tolerance test (SITT).


Increased visceral adiposity was significantly correlated with plasma triglycerides (r = 0.63, P = 0.004), the total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol ratio (r = 0.61, P = 0.008), the urinary albumin/creatinine ratio (r = 0.49, P = 0.04), and decreased insulin sensitivity as measured by the SITT (r = 0.47, P = 0.03). When the data were analyzed by tertiles, increasing visceral fat area was associated with higher plasma triglycerides, lower HDL cholesterol, and a smaller plasma glucose decrement during the SITT. In addition, the diurnal rhythm in BP and heart rate tended to be best preserved in those with the least visceral obesity.


This pilot study demonstrates that visceral fat accumulation is associated with dyslipidemia, hypertension, insulin resistance, and albuminuria in Chinese patients with NIDDM.

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