Body fat distribution and insulin resistance

Pavankumar Patel, Nicola Abate

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


The burden of obesity has increased globally over the last few decades and its association with insulin resistance and related cardio-metabolic problems have adversely affected our ability to reduce population morbidity and mortality. Traditionally, adipose tissue in the visceral fat depot has been considered a major culprit in the development of insulin resistance. However, there is a growing body of evidence supporting the role of subcutaneous truncal/abdominal adipose tissue in the development of insulin resistance. There are significant differences in the functional characteristics of subcutaneous abdominal/truncal vs. intraabdominal vs. gluteo-femoral fat depots. More recently, mounting evidence has been supporting the role of adipose tissue function in the development of metabolic complications independent of adipose tissue volume or distribution. Decreased capacity for adipocyte differentiation and angiogenesis along with adipocyte hypertrophy can trigger a vicious cycle of inflammation leading to subcutaneous adipose tissue dysfunction and ectopic fat deposition. Therapeutic lifestyle change continues to be the most important intervention in clinical practice to improve adipose tissue function and avoid development of insulin resistance and related cardio-metabolic complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2019-2027
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 5 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Adipose tissue
  • Adipose tissue distribution
  • Adipose tissue dysfunction
  • Adipose tissue inflammation
  • Body fat distribution
  • Insulin resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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