What is it about?

Previous studies showed that autonomic control of the heart can be correlated with fat mass, even though the results are not always convergent. In this study, we proved that the predominant contribution to the reduction of variability in the heart rate depends essentially on the distribution of fat over the abdomen more than the general fat mass.

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Why is it important?

The relationship between the autonomic nervous system and fat mass is still not completely understood. Moreover, several genetic and behavioral factors influence body fat distribution. People tending to accumulate fat mass over the abdomen seems to show a reduced variability of the heart rate, an index of health for the heart. Heart rate variability can be used to address possible risks for cardiovascular disease, as well as improve the relationship between body fat and autonomic control.


I enjoyed starting this research line in the lab where I grew-up scientifically. In my humble opinion, there is poor consideration of the contradictory results and meanings of the heart rate variability in relation to fat mass.

Antonio Ivano Triggiani
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Heart rate variability reduction is related to a high amount of visceral adiposity in healthy young women, PLoS ONE, September 2019, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0223058.
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