Progression of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis: Does obesity make a difference?

Andrea E. Cassidy, Lawrence F. Bielak, Yan Zhou, Patrick F. Sheedy, Stephen T. Turner, Jerome F. Breen, Philip A. Araoz, Iftikhar J. Kullo, Xihong Lin, Patricia A. Peyser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Background - Obesity is associated with coronary artery calcification (CAC), a marker of the presence and extent of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis. Obesity adds incremental information in identifying those at higher risk of coronary heart disease to traditional risk factor assessment. The present study examined associations between obesity measures and progression of CAC in those at higher (≥10%) and lower (<10%) 10-year coronary heart disease risk according to the Framingham risk equation. Methods and Results - In this study, 443 asymptomatic white individuals >30 years of age (243 men) had baseline and follow-up CAC measurements an average of 8.9 years apart. Multivariable linear regression models were fit to determine associations of obesity measures at baseline with progression of CAC defined as loge of the difference between follow-up and baseline CAC area plus 1 divided by time (in years) between examinations, adjusting for baseline CAC quantity, age, sex, baseline hypertension status, and baseline cholesterol level. Among 329 participants (74.3%) in the lower-risk group, waist circumference (P=0.024), waist-to-hip ratio (P<0.001), body mass index (P=0.036), and being overweight compared with being underweight or of normal weight (P=0.008) were each significantly positively associated with progression of CAC. Among those at higher coronary heart disease risk, no baseline obesity measures were associated with CAC progression. Conclusions - Various measures of obesity were associated with increased progression of CAC in those at lower risk of coronary heart disease. Future studies examining the effectiveness of weight reduction strategies in reducing CAC progression among those with an otherwise favorable risk factor profile may be warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1877-1882
Number of pages6
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 19 2005


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Calcium
  • Imaging
  • Obesity
  • Population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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