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Atherosclerosis. 2012 Aug;223(2):485-90. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2012.05.022. Epub 2012 May 30.

Reductions in arterial stiffness with weight loss in overweight and obese young adults: potential mechanisms.

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Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Epidemiology Data Center, 130 DeSoto St., Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.



Arterial stiffness decreases with weight loss in overweight/obese young adults. We aimed to determine the mechanisms by which this occurs.


We evaluated carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV) and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) in 344 young adults (23% male, BMI 25-40 kg/m(2)) at baseline, 6, and 12 months in a behavioral weight loss intervention. Linear mixed models were used to evaluate associations between weight loss and arterial stiffness and to examine whether improvements in obesity-related factors explained these associations.


At 6 months (7% mean weight loss), there was a significant median decrease of 47.5 cm/s in cfPWV (p < 0.0001) and a mean decrease of 11.7 cm/s in baPWV (p = 0.049). At 12 months (6% mean weight loss), only cfPWV remained reduced. In models adjusting for changes in mean arterial pressure and obesity-related factors, changes in BMI (p = 0.01) and common carotid artery diameter (p = 0.003) were positively associated with change in cfPWV. Reductions in heart rate (p < 0.0001) and C-reactive protein (p = 0.02) were associated with reduced baPWV and accounted for the association between weight loss and reduced baPWV.


Weight loss is associated with reduced cfPWV independently of changes in established hemodynamic and cardiometabolic risk factors, but its association with reduced baPWV is explained by concurrent reductions in heart rate and inflammation.


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