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Int J Obes (Lond). 2005 Jul;29(7):826-32.

Body composition and fat repartition in relation to structure and function of large arteries in middle-aged adults (the SU.VI.MAX study).

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French Institute of Health and Medical Research, Unit 557, Paris, France.



To investigate associations of body composition assessed by bioimpedance analysis and anthropometric indicators of fat repartition with carotid structure and function.


Cross-sectional epidemiological study.


A total of 1014 middle-aged apparently healthy adults participating in the SU.VI.MAX study.


Body composition (fat mass, fat-free mass) was assessed by bioimpedance analysis and anthropometric indicators of fat repartition (waist circumference (WC); waist-hip-ratio (WHR)) were simultaneously collected. Carotid ultrasound examination included measurements of intima-media thickness (IMT) at the common carotid arteries (CCA) and assessment of atherosclerotic plaques in extracranial carotid arteries. Carotid-femoral pulse-wave velocity (PWV) was used as a marker of aortic stiffness.


In multivariate analyses adjusted for major known cardiovascular risk factors in addition to age, gender and height, fat-free mass, fat mass (FM), and WC were positively associated with CCA-IMT and lumen diameter. No significant association was found with occurrence of carotid plaques. PWV was only associated with WC. Associations of CCA-IMT and PWV with WC were not significant anymore after further adjustment on body mass index (BMI) or FM.


WC was the only measurement positively associated with both early atherosclerosis markers such as CCA-IMT and arterial stiffness. Although this association depends on overall adiposity, as assessed by the BMI, it emphasizes the importance of WC in clinical practice and prevention programs as a screening tool for individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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