(UPI) -- People with belly fat have an increased risk for the development of type 2 diabetes compared to those with fat all over the body, U.S. researchers say.
First author Dr. Ian Neeland and Dr. James de Lemos of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas said the study was one of the largest of its kind to assess a multiethnic population of U.S. obese people using magnetic resonance imaging and dual energy X-ray absorptiometry to determine where fat was stored in the body.
"Among obese individuals, it is not necessarily how much fat a person has, but rather where the fat is located on a person that leads to diabetes," de Lemos said in a statement. "Understanding the biological differences between visceral, or abdominal fat and subcutaneous fat, fat under the skin might help doctors to more effectively battle the U.S. obesity epidemic."
The study sampled 732 obese adults -- those with a body mass index of 30 or greater between the ages of 30 and 65 -- without diabetes or cardiovascular disease using extensive imaging of adipose tissue.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found after a follow-up after seven years, the researchers found 11 percent of the people sampled developed diabetes years before symptoms appeared.
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