Sex differences in the associations of visceral adipose tissue and cardiometabolic and cardiovascular disease risk: The framingham heart study

Andreas A. Kammerlander, Asya Lyass, Taylor F. Mahoney, Joseph M. Massaro, Michelle T. Long, Ramachandran S. Vasan, Udo Hoffmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Men and women are labeled as obese on the basis of a body mass index (BMI) using the same criterion despite known differences in their fat distributions. Subcutaneous adipose tissue and visceral adipose tissue (VAT), as measured by computed tomography, are advanced measures of obesity that closely correlate with cardiometabolic risk independent of BMI. However, it remains unknown whether prognostic significance of anthropometric measures of adiposity versus VAT var-ies in men versus women. METHODS AND RESULTS: In 3482 FHS (Framingham Heart Study) participants (48.1% women; mean age, 50.8±10.3 years), we tested the associations of computed tomography– based versus anthropometric measures of fat with cardiometabolic and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Mean follow-up was 12.7±2.1 years. In men, VAT, as compared with BMI, had a similar strength of association with incident cardiometabolic risk factors (eg, adjusted odds ratio [OR], 2.36 [95% CI, 1.84– 3.04] versus 2.66 [95% CI, 2.04– 3.47] for diabetes mellitus) and CVD events (eg, adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.32 [95% CI, 0.97–1.80] versus 1.74 [95% CI, 1.14– 2.65] for CVD death). In women, however, VAT, when compared with BMI, conferred a markedly greater association with incident cardiometabolic risk factors (eg, adjusted OR, 4.51 [95% CI, 3.13– 6.50] versus 2.33 [95% CI, 1.88– 3.04] for diabetes mellitus) as well as CVD events (eg, adjusted HR, 1.85 [95% CI, 1.26– 2.71] versus 1.19 [95% CI, 1.01–1.40] for CVD death). CONCLUSIONS: Anthropometric measures of obesity, including waist circumference and BMI, adequately capture VAT-associated cardiometabolic and cardiovascular risk in men but not in women. In women, abdominal computed tomography– based VAT measures permit more precise assessment of obesity-associated cardiometabolic and cardiovascular risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere019968
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Volume10
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Body mass index
  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Metabolic health
  • Obesity
  • Sex differences
  • Visceral adipose tissue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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