Cardiometabolic Determinants of Carotid and Aortic Distensibility From Childhood to Early Adulthood

Hypertension. 2017 Aug;70(2):452-460. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.117.09027. Epub 2017 Jun 26.


Children who are obese or have familial hypercholesterolemia have stiffer arteries compared with lean, healthy peers. Limited data are, however, available on the association of cardiometabolic risk markers and arterial distensibility in healthy children, particularly in a longitudinal setting. Therefore, we studied in the prospective STRIP (Special Turku Coronary Risk Factor Intervention Project) comprising healthy, predominantly normal weight participants the association of several cardiometabolic and dietary risk markers with arterial distensibility from childhood to early adulthood. Carotid and aortic distensibility (cdist, adist) was assessed repeatedly with ultrasonography at the age of 11, 13, 15, 17, and 19 years in the longitudinal atherosclerosis prevention study (ncdist=420-503, nadist=407-476). Data on cardiometabolic risk markers and diet were available since early childhood. In multivariable analyses, body mass index (β=-0.0019 [SE 0.0085]; P=0.037), systolic blood pressure (β=-0.0025 [SE 0.00065]; P=0.0001), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (β=-0.026 [SE 0.012]; P=0.034), and homeostasis model of insulin resistance (β=-0.048 [SE 0.018]; P=0.0071) were independently associated with carotid distensibility. Systolic blood pressure (β=-0.0069 [SE 0.00097]; P<0.0001) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (β=-0.039 [SE 0.018]; P=0.031) associated independently with aortic distensibility. Dietary variables were not independently associated with arterial distensibility. Participants with low arterial distensibility had higher body mass index (Pcdist=0.0090, Padist=0.098) and higher systolic (Pcdist<0.0001, Padist<0.0001) and diastolic blood pressures (Pcdist<0.0001, Padist=0.0002) already from early childhood. Body mass index, blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and homeostasis model of insulin resistance identified since childhood associate with arterial distensibility in healthy children and adolescents. These data support the relevance of these factors as part of primordial prevention.

Clinical trial registration: URL: Unique identifier: NCT00223600.

Keywords: arteriosclerosis; blood pressure; body mass index; child; ultrasonography.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aorta / physiopathology*
  • Atherosclerosis* / epidemiology
  • Atherosclerosis* / metabolism
  • Atherosclerosis* / physiopathology
  • Atherosclerosis* / prevention & control
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood*
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity* / epidemiology
  • Obesity* / metabolism
  • Obesity* / physiopathology
  • Obesity* / prevention & control
  • Preventive Health Services / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Vascular Stiffness / physiology*


  • Cholesterol, LDL

Associated data