Weight loss and carotid intima-media thickness-a meta-analysis

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2017 Feb;25(2):357-362. doi: 10.1002/oby.21732. Epub 2016 Dec 27.


Objective: Obesity is a risk factor for clinical cardiovascular disease, putatively via increased burden of atherosclerosis. It remains contentious as to whether weight loss in people with obesity is accompanied by a reduction in intima-media thickness, a noninvasive marker of subclinical atherosclerosis, consistent with a lowering of risk of cardiovascular events.

Methods: A systematic literature search was performed to identify all surgical and nonsurgical weight loss interventions that reported intima-media thickness. A meta-analysis was undertaken to obtain pooled estimates for change in intima-media thickness.

Results: From the 3,197 articles screened, 9 studies were included in the meta-analysis, with a total of 393 participants who lost an average of 16 kg (95% CI 9.4-22.5) of body weight over an average follow-up of 20 months. The pooled mean change in carotid intima-media thickness was -0.03 mm (95% CI -0.05 to -0.01), which was similar between surgical and nonsurgical interventions.

Conclusions: In people with obesity, weight loss was associated with a reduction in carotid intima-media thickness, consistent with a lowering in risk of cardiovascular events.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Atherosclerosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Atherosclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Carotid Intima-Media Thickness*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / diagnostic imaging
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight Loss / physiology*