Association of obesity with arterial stiffness: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)

Jeongok G. Logan, Hyojung Kang, Soyoun Kim, Daniel Duprez, Younghoon Kwon, David R. Jacobs, Nketi Forbang, Jennifer Mason Lobo, Min Woong Sohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Arterial stiffness (AS) and obesity are recognized as important risk factors of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between AS and obesity. AS was defined as high augmentation index (AIx) and low elasticity (C1, large artery elasticity; C2, small artery elasticity) in participants enrolled in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis at baseline. We compared AIx, C1, and C2 by body mass index (BMI) (< 25, 25–29.9, 30–39.9, ⩾ 40 kg/m2) and waist–hip ratio (WHR) (< 0.85, 0.85–0.99, ⩾ 1). The obesity–AS association was tested across 10-year age intervals. Among 6177 participants (62 ± 10 years old, 52% female), a significant inverse relationship was observed between obesity and AS. After adjustments for CVD risk factors, participants with a BMI > 40 kg/m2 had 5.4% lower AIx (mean difference [Δ] = −0.82%; 95% CI: –1.10, –0.53), 15.4% higher C1 (Δ = 1.66 mL/mmHg ×10; 95% CI: 1.00, 2.33), and 40.2% higher C2 (Δ = 1.49 mL/mmHg ×100; 95% CI: 1.15, 1.83) compared to those with a BMI < 25 kg/m2 (all p for trend < 0.001). Participants with a WHR ⩾ 1 had 5.6% higher C1 (∆ = 0.92 mL/mmHg ×10; 95% CI: 0.47, 1.37) compared to those with a WHR < 0.85. The WHR had a significant interaction with age on AIx and C2, but not with BMI; the inverse relationships of the WHR with AIx and C2 were observed only in participants < 55 years between the normal (WHR < 0.85) and the overweight (0.85 ⩽ WHR < 0.99) groups. Different associations of WHR and BMI with arterial stiffness among older adults should be further investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-318
Number of pages10
JournalVascular Medicine (United Kingdom)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • arterial stiffness
  • obesity
  • population health
  • vascular medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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