Numerous indexes of adiposity have been proposed and are currently in use in clinical practice and research. However, the correlation of these indexes with measures of vascular health remain poorly defined. This study investigated which measure of adiposity is most strongly associated with endothelial function.
Design and Methods:
Data from the Firefighters And Their Endothelium (FATE) study was used. The relationships between three measures of vascular function: flow-mediated dilation (FMD), hyperemic velocity time integral (VTI), and hyperemic shear stress (HSS), and five measures of adiposity: BMI, waist circumference (WC), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), waist-to-height ratio (WHtR), and body adiposity index (BAI) were tested. Univariate comparisons were made, and subsequently models adjusted for traditional risk factors were constructed.
A total of 1,462 male firefighters (mean age 49 ± 9) without cardiovascular disease comprised the study population. No measure of adiposity correlated with FMD; all five measures of adiposity were negatively correlated with VTI and HSS (P values <0.0001), with WHtR most strongly correlated with VTI, and WC most strongly correlated with HSS (both P < 0.05). In models including all five measures of obesity simultaneously, BMI, WC, and WHtR were all predictive of HSS (all P values <0.05), and BMI and WHR were both predictive of VTI (P values <0.05).
Anthropometric measures of adiposity may help refine estimations of atherosclerotic burden. BMI was most consistently associated with endothelial dysfunction, but measures of adiposity that reflect distribution of mass were additive.