The relation between components of adult height and intimal-medial thickness in middle age: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study

Am J Epidemiol. 2006 Jul 15;164(2):136-42. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwj184. Epub 2006 May 17.


The authors aimed to investigate the relation between components of adult height (leg and trunk length) and atherosclerosis in middle age, using data from 12,254 participants (aged 44-65 years) in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. Intimal-medial thickness (IMT) as measured by B-mode ultrasound was the outcome, and exposures were trunk and leg lengths as estimated (using sitting height and the difference between sitting and standing height) at the first study examination in 1987-1989. The mean IMT was 0.73 (standard deviation, 0.17) mm. Greater leg length was associated with lower IMT, with the largest difference being for Black men (a 0.045 (95% confidence interval: 0.023, 0.068)-mm lower IMT per 10-cm higher leg length). Greater trunk length was associated with higher IMT, with the largest difference being for White men (a 0.024 (95% confidence interval: 0.005, 0.044)-mm higher IMT per 10-cm higher trunk length). Although the effect sizes were small, leg length was inversely associated with atherosclerosis, consistent with the results of other studies with cardiovascular disease outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Atherosclerosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Atherosclerosis / epidemiology
  • Atherosclerosis / pathology*
  • Blacks
  • Body Height / physiology*
  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Arteries / pathology*
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg / physiology*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Tunica Intima / diagnostic imaging
  • Tunica Intima / pathology*
  • Tunica Media / diagnostic imaging
  • Tunica Media / pathology*
  • Ultrasonography
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Whites