Background

Body composition measures (including proxy fat mass measures) aim to identify risk factors of cardio-metabolic health. Visceral abdominal adiposity and associations with metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease has increased in the discussion of body composition. A variety of measures assess visceral fat area (VFA) including bioimpedence analysis (BIA) and computed tomography (CT), the gold-standard. Purpose of this study was to assess the accuracy of BIA for assessment of VFA in former professional football players and examine associations between two measures of VFA with proxy measures of fat mass.

Methods

Cross-sectional study of anthropometry was obtained from former NFL athletes (n = 64) at a Player Care Foundation cardiovascular screening event. Questionnaires were used to collect demographic information. InBody 770 and CT were utilized to measure VFA. Associations between variables assessed using GLM. Wilcoxcon signed rank test was used to analyze difference between the two measures of VFA.

Results

BIA-VFA mean was 129.1 +/- 60.1, while CT-VFA mean was 153.7 +/- 89.2, a difference that was significant (W = -317, p = 0.0329). After adjusting for age and race, the log of body mass index (BMI, adjR² = 0.6836, p<.0001), waist to hip ratio (WHR, adjR² = 0.3662, p<.0001), and log of sagittal abdominal diameter (SAD, adjR² = 0.3048, p<.0001) were significantly associated with BIA-VFA. After adjusting for age and race, log of BMI (adjR² = 0.4560, p<.0001), WHR (adjR² = 0.4232, p<.0001), and log of SAD (adjR² = 0.3217, p=0.0008) were significantly associated with CT-VFA.

Conclusions

We found a systematic difference in BIA and CT measures of VFA, with BIA appearing to underestimate VFA. All surrogate measures of adiposity were significantly related to both VFA measures indicating reasonable predictors of VFA in our population, with BMI having a stronger association with VFA in both BIA and CT measures.