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Am J Hypertens. 2012 Oct;25(10):1131-7. doi: 10.1038/ajh.2012.92. Epub 2012 Jul 12.

Associations between trunk, leg and total body adiposity with arterial stiffness.

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  • 1Department of Community Health, Division of Epidemiology, Lifespan Health Research Center, Boonshoft School of Medicine, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio, USA.



Obesity and arterial stiffness are associated, but fat distribution patterns may be more strongly related to arterial stiffness than general obesity because of the possible increased inflammation associated with increased abdominal adiposity. The aims of this study were to examine whether fat patterning is associated with arterial stiffness, and determine whether these associations are mediated by low-grade inflammation.


Adult participants from the Fels Longitudinal Study (228 males and 254 females) were assessed for brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (BaPWV) to determine arterial stiffness. Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry was used to estimate fat percentage of the trunk and legs (e.g., TRUNKFAT% and LEGFAT%). High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) levels were assayed as a general marker of inflammation. General linear regression analyses were used.


BaPWV was positively associated with TRUNKFAT% (r = 0.44 in men and r = 0.38 in women), whereas it was inversely related to LEGFAT% (r = -0.40 in men and r = -0.39 in women). In multiple regression analyses, each SD increase in TRUNKFAT% was associated with an ~1.03 m/s increase in BaPWV in both men and women. Each SD increase in LEGFAT% was related to a similar magnitude of decrease (1.03 m/s) in BaPWV in both sexes. The relationships of TRUNKFAT% and LEGFAT% with BaPWV were attenuated slightly when including hs-CRP in the models, but remained significant.


We found that trunk and leg fat are related to BaPWV in opposite directions when total body adiposity was accounted for. However, the associations between regional fat patterning and arterial stiffness did not appear to be mediated by low-grade inflammation.

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