Beyond BMI to estimate disease risk
People with the same body-mass index (BMI) can have different distributions of body fat, which could affect heart and metabolic disease risk. To look for associations between fat distribution and disease risk, CGM PI, Amit Khera, and colleagues used deep learning models to analyze whole-body MRI images of more than 40,000 people from the UK Biobank and quantify fat volumes at three anatomical locations. Using these data, they found an association between deep belly fat and increased risk of type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease in people with the same BMI, as well as a link between hip and thigh fat and reduced disease risk. The study shows how fat distribution can affect disease risk independent of BMI.