Biological Sciences




Breitta Oaks

Advisor Department

Nutrition and Food Sciences




Cortisol; fat; abdominal fat; fat gain; stress

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.


ZACHARY GUERRIEO (Biological Sciences)

The effect of cortisol on abdominal fat accumulation

Sponsor: Brietta Oaks (Nutrition)

Cortisol is the stress hormone of the body, it increases sugars in the bloodstream, enhances the brain's use of glucose, and increases the availability of substances to repair tissues. A healthy person has a daily slope of cortisol where it is high when they wake up and then decreases throughout the day. Cortisol, however, can be high throughout the day for people who live stressful or unhealthy lives. There have been conversations that high cortisol can cause fat gain specifically in the abdominal area. I performed a literature review of this topic by accumulating various research articles discussing cortisol and causes of abdominal fat gain. After understanding the current literature on the topic, I made a research proposal on if there is a correlation between high daily cortisol levels and abdominal fat levels. My research would measure participant’s salivary cortisol levels throughout the day to see if they have high cortisol levels and if their cortisol drops. These participants' body fat percentage would also be measured in a DEXA scan which shows accurate body fat in specific areas of the body. I would see if there is a correlation between high daily cortisol and high body fat in the abdomen.