Metabolic syndrome (MetS), mainly caused by intra-abdominal fat (IAF) accumulation, is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The prevalence of MetS increases rapidly after the age of 40 years, and it is presumed that there is a substantial proportion of MetS in younger age groups. However, the association of IAF with MetS in adults aged 20 to 30 years has not been fully investigated.This study aimed to determine the prevalence of MetS and to verify whether IAF accumulation is associated with other MetS-related metabolic disorders including dyslipidemia, high blood pressure, and high blood glucose among the Japanese population in their 20s.In this cross-sectional study, IAF area (IAFA) and MetS-related metabolic parameters were evaluated in university students in their 20s (n = 1822, 21.5 ± 1.5 years). IAFA was measured using a non-invasive device, DUALSCAN, which can be readily measured through the dual impedance method. The participants were divided into four groups according to IAFA: 0-49.9, 50-74.9, 75-99.9, and ≥100 cm.MetS was prevalent in 3.3% and 0.0% of the males and females, respectively, according to the Japanese criteria of MetS. The sex- and lifestyle-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for the three metabolic component levels of Mets were elevated in the larger IAFA groups compared to the smallest IAFA group, according to the level of IAFA. The levels particularly increased in participants with abdominal obesity, defined by both, IAFA and waist circumference rather than by waist circumference alone.IAF accumulation was significantly associated with MetS-related metabolic disorders in young adults. An evaluation of IAFA may contribute to the early prediction of the risk of developing MetS in the future.
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