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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 580803, 8 pages
Research Article

ZHENG May Contribute to Obesity Phenotypes Based on Body Composition: A Pilot Study on the Traditional Chinese Medicine Approach

1Shanghai Key Laboratory of Traditional Chinese Clinical Medicine, Department of Endocrinology & Metabolism, ShuGuang Affiliated to Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, No. 528 Road ZhangHeng, Shanghai 201203, China
2Department of Nutrition, Heart and Metabolism Division, Pitié-Salpêtrière University Hospital, No. 47-83 boulevard de l'Hôpital, 75013 Paris, France
3CRNH-Ile de France, Institute of Cardiometabolism and Nutrition (ICAN), University Pierre et Marie Curie, No. 47-83 boulevard de l'Hôpital, 75013 Paris, France

Received 16 November 2013; Revised 29 January 2014; Accepted 30 January 2014; Published 10 March 2014

Academic Editor: Shao Li

Copyright © 2014 Feng Tao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. Obesity therapy needs new approaches to complement current phenotyping systems. This study aims to assess associations between the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) ZHENG and obesity phenotypes. Methods. We assessed medical history and habitual physical activity and measured body composition, fasting plasma glucose and insulin, and lipids. We collected TCM data through face-to-face interview. ZHENG elements (essentials and locations) were identified by TCM practitioner. Primary ZHENG was assessed by cluster analysis. Results. In 140 consecutive subjects enrolled in a university clinic (body mass index (BMI):  kg/m2), ZHENG essentials were identified as “QiXu,” “Re,” “YinXu,” and “TanShi” (totally 86.8%). Locations were “Shen,” “Wei,” “Pi,” and “Gan” (totally 91.8%). Four types of primary ZHENG were identified: A (37.1% of subjects), B (16.5%), C (35.7%), and D (10.7%). Subjects in type D showed elevated BMI, total fat mass (FM), FM index, trunk FM, and less physical activity, as compared with others. Subjects in type B changed regional body composition (reduced trunk FM% and elevated appendicular FM%). Biological parameters did not differ across primary ZHENG clusters. Conclusions. Obesity phenotypes based on body composition differ according to ZHENG in obese patients. This study is a first step toward understanding the contribution of TCM to obesity phenotyping.