The relationship of body mass and fat distribution with incident hypertension: Observations from the dallas heart study

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BACKGROUND Obesity has been linked to the development of hypertension, but whether total adiposity or site-specific fat accumulation underpins this relationship is unclear. OBJECTIVES This study sought to determine the relationship between adipose tissue distribution and incident hypertension. METHODS Normotensive participants enrolled in the Dallas Heart Study were followed for a median of 7 years for the development of hypertension (systolic blood pressure [SBP] ≥140 mm Hg, diastolic blood pressure ≥90 mm Hg, or initiation of blood pressure medications). Visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) was quantified by magnetic resonance imaging and proton-spectroscopic imaging, and lower body fat (LBF) was imaged by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Multivariable relative risk regression was performed to test the association between individual fat depots and incident hypertension, adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, diabetes, smoking, SBP, and body mass index (BMI). RESULTS Among 903 participants (median age, 40 years; 57% women; 60% nonwhite; median BMI 27.5 kg/m2), 230 (25%) developed incident hypertension. In multivariable analyses, higher BMI was significantly associated with incident hypertension (relative risk: 1.24; 95% confidence interval: 1.12 to 1.36, per 1-SD increase). However, when VAT, SAT, and LBF were added to the model, only VAT remained independently associated with incident hypertension (relative risk: 1.22; 95% confidence interval: 1.06 to 1.39, per 1-SD increase). CONCLUSIONS Increased visceral adiposity, but not total or subcutaneous adiposity, was robustly associated with incident hypertension. Additional studies will be needed to elucidate the mechanisms behind this association. (J Am Coll Cardiol 2014;64:997-1002)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)997-1002
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2014


  • Body fat distribution
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Visceral fat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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