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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2011, Article ID 159373, 5 pages
Clinical Study

Whole-Body MRI and Ethnic Differences in Adipose Tissue and Skeletal Muscle Distribution in Overweight Black and White Adolescent Boys

1Division of Weight Management and Wellness, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Faculty Pavilion Sixth Floor (6102), 400 45th Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15224, USA
2School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada M3J 1P3
3Magnetic Resonance Research Center, Department of Radiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
4Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes Mellitus, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15224, USA

Received 25 January 2011; Accepted 26 April 2011

Academic Editor: Gianluca Iacobellis

Copyright © 2011 SoJung Lee 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.


It is unclear whether ethnic differences exist in adipose tissue (AT) and skeletal muscle (SM) distribution in black and white youth. Investigation into the pattern of AT and SM distribution in black versus white youth may provide insight into the previously reported health disparities between these ethnicities. Therefore, we examined total and regional AT and SM in overweight black and white boys. The study sample included overweight black ( ) and white ( ) boys (11–18 yr, BMI ≥ 85th) whose body composition was evaluated using whole-body MRI. Despite similar age, Tanner stage, and BMI, black boys had significantly ( ) less visceral AT than white boys and more ( ) total and lower-body subcutaneous AT (SAT) in both absolute (kg) and relative (%) terms. There was a main effect ( ) of ethnicity on the relationship between total and regional AT, such that for a given amount of total body AT (kg), black boys had a greater ( ) lower-body SAT and less visceral AT than their white peers. For a given amount of total SM, black boys had more ( ) SM in the thigh. Compared with overweight white boys, overweight black boys have less visceral fat, more subcutaneous fat, and more thigh skeletal muscle.