Visceral adiposity and subclinical atherosclerosis in healthy young men

Gennaro Clemente, Marcello Mancini, Rosalba Giacco, Antonietta Tornatore, Monica Ragucci, Gabriele Riccardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Atherosclerosis begins in childhood and develops silently for decades before clinical events such as myocardial infarction or stroke occur. Only few studies have evaluated the relationship between CVD risk factors and carotid artery Intimal Media Thickness (IMT) in young asymptomatic people. Aim: The aim of this study is to investigate risk factors for cardiovascular disease associated with higher Carotid Intimal Media Thickness (IMT) in healthy young subjects. Methods: A cohort of 106 healthy young men, mean age 21 ± 2 years (mean ± SD), BMI 24.4 ± 2.8 (kg/m2), on military duty, participated in this cross-sectional study. Waist circumference, carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), blood pressure, and plasma concentrations of relevant metabolic parameters were measured at fasting. Smoking and habitual dietary patterns were evaluated by a semiquantitative questionnaire. Results: The population was divided into two groups on the basis of IMT values: the lowest three quartiles versus the highest quartile (cut-off value=0.7 mm). BMI, waist circumference, systolic (SBP), and diastolic (DBP) blood pressure were significantly higher in the group with higher IMT (p=0.02). All other variables, including dietary parameters and smoking, were similar in the two groups. Data analysis showed that IMT values correlated positively with SBP (r=0.22; p=0.025), DBP (r=0.27; p=0.005), waist circumference (r=0.29; p=0.002), and fat mass (r=0.24; p=0.01), and negatively with kcal/kg of body weight (r=-0.220.22; p=0.022) - an indirect marker of physical activity. Based on multiple regression analysis, waist circumference and DBP were the only variables independently associated with IMT (p=0.029). Conclusions: In a non-selected sample of healthy young adult males, a larger waist circumference and a higher diastolic blood pressure - albeit within normal values - are the only parameters independently associated with higher IMT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)466-470
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Nutrition
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


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