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Open Access Research article

Predicting visceral obesity based on facial characteristics

Bum Ju Lee and Jong Yeol Kim*

Author Affiliations

Medical Research Division, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, 1672 Yuseongdae-ro, Yuseong-gu, Deajeon 305-811, Republic of Korea

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:248  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-248

Published: 16 July 2014

Abstract

Background

Visceral obesity is associated with facial characteristics and chronic disease, but no studies on the best predictor of visceral obesity based on facial characteristics have been reported. The aims of the present study were to investigate the association of visceral obesity with facial characteristics, to determine the best predictor of normal waist and visceral obesity among these characteristics, and to compare the predictive power of individual and combined characteristics.

Methods

Cross-sectional data were obtained from 11347 adult Korean men and women ranging from 18 to 80 years old. We examined 15 facial characteristics to identify the strongest predictor of normal and viscerally obese subjects and assessed the predictive power of the combined characteristics.

Results

FD_94_194 (the distance between both inferior ear lobes) was the best indicator of the normal and viscerally obese subjects in the following groups: Men-18-50 (p ≤ 0.0001, OR = 4.610, AUC = 0.821), Men-50-80 (p ≤ 0.0001, OR = 2.624, AUC = 0.735), and Women-18-50 (p ≤ 0.0001, OR = 2.979, AUC = 0.76). In contrast, FD_43_143 (mandibular width) was the strongest predictor in Women-50-80 (p ≤ 0.0001, OR = 2.099, AUC = 0.679). In a comparison of the combined characteristics, the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) and the kappa values of the 4 groups ranged from 0.826 to 0.702 and from 0.483 to 0.279, respectively. The model for Men-18-50 showed the strongest predictive values and the model for Women-51-80 had the lowest predictive value for both the individual and combined characteristics.

Conclusions

In both men and women, the predictive power of the young and middle-age groups was better than that of the elderly groups for predicting normal waist and viscerally obese subjects for both the individual and combined characteristics. The predictive power appeared to increase slightly with the combined characteristics.