Association of obesity and central fat distribution with carotid artery wall thickening in middle-aged women

Mario De Michele, Salvatore Panico, Arcangelo Iannuzzi, Egidio Celentano, Anna V. Ciardullo, Rocco Galasso, Lucia Sacchetti, Federica Zarrilli, M. Gene Bond, Paolo Rubba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Purpose - The association between obesity and atherosclerotic disease is controversial. In the present analysis, we evaluated whether common carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and area, 2 markers of preclinical atherosclerosis, were increased in obese subjects. Methods - More than 5000 middle-aged women (n=5062; age, 30 to 69 years) living in the area of Naples, Southern Italy, were recruited for a prospective, currently ongoing study on the etiology of cardiovascular disease and cancer in the female population (the Progetto ATENA study). A subsample of 310 participants underwent high-resolution B-mode ultrasound examination, and the IMTs, intima-media areas, and lumen diameters of common carotid arteries were measured with a semiautomated computerized program. Subjects were divided into 3 groups on the basis of the recently published obesity guidelines for body mass index (BMI), a marker of general obesity, and tertiles of waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), a marker of regional obesity. Results - Women with a BMI ≥30 kg/m2 showed higher systolic and diastolic blood pressures, triglycerides, and fasting glucose and insulin, as well as lower high-density lipoprotein concentrations, than subjects with lower BMI. A gradual increase in common carotid IMT and intima-media area was observed when lean women (0.94±0.01 mm and 19.8±0.5 mm2, respectively) were compared with overweight (0.98±0.01 mm and 21.0±0.4 mm2) and obese (1.02±0.02 mm and 22.6±0.8 mm2, P0.85) had adverse risk factor profiles and thicker carotid intima-media complex than those in the first 2 tertiles (P

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2923-2928
Number of pages6
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2002


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Carotid arteries
  • Obesity
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)


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