Visceral adiposity index (VAI) is a novel gender-specific index based on waist circumference (WC), BMI, and lipid parameters. Although VAI does not actually estimate visceral adiposity, it accurately reflects visceral fat function and insulin resistance. This index has not been studied in children thus far. This study aims to fill this gap.
In a cohort of Saudi children and adolescents, anthropometric measurements and metabolic/hormonal profile were obtained.
A total of 543 subjects, 292 of whom were boys, were included (mean age: 11.9 ± 3.3 y; BMI: 19.8 ± 5.6 kg/m(2)). In all subjects, VAI was inferior to BMI and WC regarding its correlations with adiponectin, leptin, insulin resistance (homeostasis model of assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR)), C-reactive protein (CRP) level, and systolic blood pressure, but it exhibited a stronger association with glucose in boys (r = 0.23; P < 0.01). In stepwise multivariate analyses, only BMI was consistent as an independent predictor of adiponectin, leptin, HOMA-IR, and CRP. VAI was the only index independently associated with glucose.
Although VAI is related to glucose in children, it seems to be inferior to BMI in terms of association with insulin resistance, adipokines, and subclinical inflammation. Until specific studies can be performed in children, VAI should be extrapolated with caution in this age range.