Something I posted to my "Confessions of a Diet Doctor" blog today:
"The Journal Obesity has published some good stuff recently on body composition that I'd like to comment upon. It lends further credence to the notion that we don't have to be fat to be, well, fat.
More to the point, some of us, perhaps a lot us who appear thin are hiding fat in the abdomen around our organs where it generally poses serious risks to our health. The term for this that seems to be catching on is "TOFI" or "thin outside-fat inside".
The problem with visceral fat (fat around the organs) is that it's not the same beast as subcutaneous fat (the fat we can see). Admittedly the two kinds of fat look the same grossly, but they appear to function, or malfunction, very differently. Gut fat is the stuff of metabolic syndrome and for those who may not yet know what metabolic syndrome means, it means gut fat, pre-diabetes, dyslipidemia, inflammation and cardiovascular risk all tend to occur together. And so the importance of defining the "TOFI" body type lies here: that you don't have to be 'fat' to get metabolic syndrome.
That's a BIG deal in a society where heart disease remains a major killer.
More on all this later."
Obesity (Silver Spring). 2012 Jan;20(1):76-87. doi: 10.1038/oby.2011.142. Epub 2011 Jun 9.