Objective: To examine the relationships between total body fatness and abdominal fat distribution with peripheral arterial disease.
Subjects: Population-based sample of 708 men aged 55-74.
Measurements: Body mass index (BMI) to estimate total body fatness and waist-to-hip ratio for abdominal fat distribution; peripheral arterial disease defined by ankle/brachial index <0.9; cardiovascular risk factors.
Results: Peripheral arterial disease was observed in 13.4% of subjects. BMI did not correlate with peripheral arterial disease, whereas an increased waist-to-hip ratio over 0.966 (median value) doubled the prevalence of arterial disease. After controlling for smoking, diabetes, hypertension, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides, increased waist-to-hip ratio was independently associated with peripheral arterial disease (odds ratio 1.68; 95% confidence interval 1.05-2.70).
Conclusion: Abdominal fat distribution, but not total body fatness, is associated with peripheral arterial occlusive disease, independently of concurrent cardiovascular risk factors.