Indicators of Abdominal Adiposity and Carotid Intima-Media Thickness: Results from the Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brazil)

Arq Bras Cardiol. 2019 Mar;112(3):220-227. doi: 10.5935/abc.20180273. Epub 2019 Jan 7.
[Article in English, Portuguese]


Background: Abdominal adiposity is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Objective: To determine the magnitude of the association between abdominal adiposity, according to five different indicators, and the carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT).

Methods: Data from 8,449 participants aged 35 to 74 years from the ELSA-Brazil study were used. The effect of waist circumference (WC), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), conicity index (C index), lipid accumulation product (LAP) and visceral adiposity index (VAI) on CIMT were evaluated. Data were stratified by gender and analyzed using multivariate linear and logistic regressions. A significance level of 5% was considered.

Results: Participants with CIMT > P75 showed a higher frequency of abdominal adiposity (men >72% and women >66%) compared to those with CIMT < P75. Abdominal adiposity was associated with the mean CIMT, mainly through WC in men (0.04; 95%CI: 0.033; 0.058). The abdominal adiposity identified by the WC, WHR, LAP, and VAI indicators in women showed an effect of 0.02 mm on the CIMT (WC: 0.025, 95%CI: 0.016, 0.035; WHR: 0.026, 95%CI: 0.016, 0.035; LAP: 0.024, 95%CI: 0.014; 0.034; VAI: 0.020, 95%CI: 0.010, 0.031). In the multiple logistic regression, the abdominal adiposity diagnosed by WC showed an important effect on the CIMT in both genders (men: OR = 1.47, 95%CI: 1.22-1.77, women: OR = 1.38; 95%CI: 1.17-1.64).

Conclusion: Abdominal adiposity, identified through WC, WHR, LAP, and VAI, was associated with CIMT in both genders, mainly for the traditional anthropometric indicator, WC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Brazil
  • Carotid Intima-Media Thickness*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipid Accumulation Product
  • Lipids / blood
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Abdominal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Obesity, Abdominal / metabolism
  • Risk Factors


  • Biomarkers
  • Lipids