BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Global fat mass distribution seems to correlate with different levels of cardio-metabolic risk; centrally distributed fat carries a high risk of cardiovascular disease, while lower limb adiposity may have a protective effect against insulin resistance. Reference data regarding body composition have already been published for the Italian population; the aim of this study was to add reference values for trunk and lower limb fat mass, and their ratio (TLR), developing percentile distributions for age brackets between 20 and 80 years. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of a multicenter, cross-sectional study was conducted and 1,570 healthy Italian adults (1,241 females and 329 males) were selected. The regional fat mass, measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry total body scan, was analyzed and the TLR was calculated. RESULTS: In both genders we observed higher trunk fat mass values in older subjects against a smaller difference in BMI values. The leg fat mass was higher in old men, while it was similar in women at different ages. The TLR values in older subjects doubled those of younger subjects in both genders (62% in males and 71% in females). CONCLUSIONS: The identified ranges for trunk, leg fat mass, and TLR may be used as reference values to describe the global fat mass distribution in healthy individuals and to identify states of altered body fat distribution.
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