Study Finds Japanese-Americans Are More Likely To Have Excess Fat In Liver And Abdomen

Dec 26, 2018

The figure shows how two people with similar levels of body mass index, weight and waist circumference can show largely different amounts of visceral fat vs. fat under the skin in the abdomen
Credit University of Hawaii

Japanese-Americans are more likely to accumulate fat in their liver and abdomen compared to other ethnicities.

That's according to the latest research from the University of Hawaii's Cancer Center.

Researchers collected data from nearly 2,000 participants from Hawaii and California from 2013 to 2016. Researchers measured participants body fat distribution by using whole-body composition imaging and MRI scans of their abdomen. 

Fat in these areas can lead to more serious health problems – such as diabetes and several types of cancer.

They found that liver fat and abdominal fat varied significantly with ethinicity, but was highest in Japanese-Americans or Asian-Americans.

Unhee Lim is an Epidemiologist at the UH Cancer Center, and lead author of the study. She says the results are consistent with other studies done measuring fat distribution in people.

Lim says they're working to find more effective ways to reduce fat in those areas.