Saturday, July 27, 2013

580% Higher Diabetes and 76% Higher Risk to Die Before Your Time, if Your Trunk-To-Leg Fat Ratio is in the Highest Quartile. Plus: Below 1.5 is Where You Want to Be

Body fat: If you store it, store it here or a couple of centimeters below. To avoid metabolic disease and premature death.
580% that's the SuppVersity Figure of the Week and the increase in diabetes risk you will have if your trunk to leg fat ratio is in the top quartile.

In view of the fact that this goes hand in hand with a +290% increased risk for high triglycerides, a +80 increased risk of high blood pressure, as well as 3x higher hances to suffer from low HDL levels and 3.6x higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome, these figures from a study that was recently conducted at the University of California Berkeley-University of California San Francisco (Wilson. 2013), will be more than just the figure(s) of the week. They are also the topic of this article..

Trunk to leg fat ratio emerges as the new marker of metabolic health 

(Wilson. 2013) The actual intention of the study Joseph P. Wilson et al. conducted was to find a new and reliable anthropometric marker for metabolic risk. To this ends, they analyzed data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey 1999–2004. This is a study that's not just representative of the US population, but did also use dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry to access the body composition of the participants. The Berkeley scientists did now use this data do determine the associations between DX-derived trunk to leg volume ratios and diabetes, metabolic covariates, and mortality by BMI category, gender, and race/ethnicity group.
Figure 1: Prevalence of diabetes in quartile 1-4 of trunk to leg volume ratio; data displayed by BMI category (left) and ethnicity (right; graphs from Wilson. 2013)
While I already mentioned the overall results in the introduction to todays installment of "On Short Notice", a brief glimpse at the graphs I reproduced in figure 1 will tell you that being obese is a game changer in terms of obesity, only in the first quartile, where we are probably finding people like Mr. Olympia (remember the weight classes go by BMI!) with no fat on the trunk and a little fat on their hams in the off-season, obesity doubles the risk for type II diabetes.
"Additionally, trunk to leg volume ratio was the strongest independent measure associated with diabetes (P<0.001), even after adjusting for BMI and waist circumference. Even among those with normal BMI, those in the highest quartile of trunk to leg volume ratio had a higher likelihood of death (5.5%) than those in the lowest quartile (0.2%)." (
Interestingly, enough it does have no effect if you store "all" your body fat in the trunk. After all, in the highest quartile of trunk to leg fat ratios, a normal BMI won't save your lazy *** from becoming / being diabetic. Moreover, the percentage of diabetics in the middle quartiles is much higher for African Americans than for all other ethnics groups - Caucasians in particular (see figure 1, right).
Figure 2: Results of logistic regression models to distinguish those individuals with diabetes, high TG, low HDL, high blood pressure (BP), metabolic syndrome (MetS), and mortality by trunk to leg volume ratio; (*) adjusts for gender, race/ethnicity, age, BMI, waist circumference, self-reported activity level, poverty index ratio (Wilson. 2013)
Now if you use this and the rest of the data you get what you see in figure 1, where 6.8 for diabetes for example signifies a 6.8x increased risk for type II diabetes in the subjects in the highest quartile (>1.66) over those in lowest first quartile (<1.34) of trunk-to-leg fat ratio. The perfect, life-threatening storm for those who carry the majority of their body fat on the trunk.

So where do you want to be? Optimally in the first two quartiles, I suppose. That would mean that the volume ratios of your trunk vs. your legs would be either <1.34 (Q1) or betwen 1.34 and 1.5 (Q2). In view of the fact that it is not easy to measure the volume, I would yet recommend to simply eyeball the proportions - I guess you know what they are supposed to look like ;-)
Bottom line: With this study, not just the stupid classification by BMI, but also the as of late heavily criticized wait-to-hip-ratio could become obsolete, as it really appears as if Wilson et al, were onto something with their trunk-to-leg-fat ratio. It holds promise as a relatively easily parameter to judge the personal risk of metabolic disease and premature death and it should remind you that the trunk fat is what you whould always target first - regardless of how nasty the cellulite on your legs may look it's healthier than having liposuction and build up more body fat in the trunk instead.

Learn more about cellulite in the SuppVersity Special: "SuppVersity Cellulite Special: The Etiology of Cellulite, Genetical and Behavioural Risk Factors? Physical and Supplemental Treatment Strategies & Their Efficacy" | read it

Other noteworthy news

Hah, now you are surprised, right? Well I thought so, I have decide to skip the Saturdaily news-potpourri. Too much work for too little feedback. Since I still don't want to have you go without a couple of additional short news, here is my usual Round Up of Facebook news:
  • Is ice water going to lean you out? Find out in the SuppVersity Facebook News!
    Is it possible to "drink yourself lean" with Ice-Water? What do you think, how much extra-calories can you burn if you guzzle water that's 3°C? And how does that compare to sugar water? | get the answers
  • Parkinson's after a steroid cycle? Not impossible, if you go by the results of a recent study that links a sudden decline in testosterone levels with the onset of Parkinson's Disease. Plus: Could DHT help? | read more
  • Propionyl-L-carnitine is a potent NO booster, could it be a "pump" supplement as well? | look at the evidence
  • Whole grain bread was yesterday. Beetroot bread is the future! A heart healthier future? | make up your mind
  • Breast cancer killer Origanum majorana! Another herb to have in your kitchen? | decide for yourself
I hope you can live with this change. If not, think about it like this a news is either worth a Facebook post @ or a complete article @ Back in the day, when I started the Short News, there were no Facebook News - now that you get 6-8 short news per day on Facebook, this column is basically obsolete. Wouldn't you agree? 

  • Wilson JP, Kanaya AM, Fan B, Shepherd JA. Ratio of trunk to leg volume as a new body shape metric for diabetes and mortality. PLoS One. 2013 Jul 10;8(7):e68716.