Visceral adiposity index among young girls with PCOS and its association with phenotypes and metabolic risk

Beena Joshi, Tejal Lakhan, Srabani Mukherjee, Anushree Patil, Sayeed Unisa


Background: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a growing endocrine-metabolic disease in India. Visceral Adiposity Index (VAI) is a surrogate marker of visceral adipose dysfunction and can be used as a useful predictor of unhealthy PCOS phenotypes in low resource settings. No cut-off has been assessed among Indian population.

Methods: Secondary data from 106 diagnosed girls with PCOS and 121 controls was analysed to estimate (i) VAI and BMI among different phenotypes (ii) risk of metabolic disorders using VAI among different phenotypes of PCOS and (iii) compare the overall diagnostic performance (for metabolic syndrome) of VAI, BMI and waist circumference.

Results: Majority of the girls in the sample considered for analysis were lean PCOS (61%). Mean VAI among PCOS (3.02) was significantly higher than normal controls (2.81). Classic and Mild Phenotypes had high VAI. A unit increase in VAI score was found associated with 5.23 times higher risk of metabolic syndrome (AOR: 5.23, 95% CI: 2.261-12.086). A higher VAI with cut off value of 2.73 could predict risk of metabolic syndrome among PCOS cases, unlike the cutoff among Caucassian population of 1.67. The cut-off for the non- obese group was even higher i.e. 2.81.

Conclusions: Given that Indians are genetically more prone to have excess visceral fat the cut-offs for measuring adiposity also needs to be re-defined. The findings of this small sample throws light on the prevalence of visceral adiposity among lean girls with PCOS emphasizing the need to also screen them for metabolic syndrome, educate them about these complications and motivate them to practice healthy lifestyles.


Adolescents, Body mass index, Metabolic syndrome, PCOS, Visceral Adiposity Index

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