Use of MRI and CT for fat imaging in children and youth: what have we learned about obesity, fat distribution and metabolic disease risk?
Article first published online: 22 APR 2012
© 2012 The Authors. obesity reviews © 2012 International Association for the Study of Obesity
Volume 13, Issue 8, pages 723–732, August 2012
How to Cite
Samara, A., Ventura, E. E., Alfadda, A. A. and Goran, M. I. (2012), Use of MRI and CT for fat imaging in children and youth: what have we learned about obesity, fat distribution and metabolic disease risk?. Obesity Reviews, 13: 723–732. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2012.00994.x
- Issue published online: 17 JUL 2012
- Article first published online: 22 APR 2012
- Received 24 December 2011; revised 12 February 2012; accepted 25 February 2012
- fat distribution;
- imaging techniques;
Childhood obesity is a matter of great concern for public health. Efforts have been made to understand its impact on health through advanced imaging techniques. An increasing number of studies focus on fat distribution and its associations with metabolic risk, in interaction with genetics, environment and ethnicity, in children. The present review is a qualitative synthesis of the existing literature on visceral and subcutaneous abdominal, intrahepatic and intramuscular fat. Our search revealed 80 original articles. Abdominal as well as ectopic fat depots are prevalent already in childhood and contribute to abnormal metabolic parameters, starting early in life. Visceral, hepatic and intramuscular fat seem to be interrelated but their patterns as well as their independent contribution on metabolic risk are not clear. Some ethnic-specific characteristics are also prevalent. These results encourage further research in childhood obesity by using imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography. These imaging methods can provide a better understanding of fat distribution and its relationships with metabolic risk, compared to less detailed fat and obesity assessment. However, studies on bigger samples and with a prospective character are warranted.