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Original article
Is arterial stiffening associated with adiposity, severity of obesity and other contemporary cardiometabolic markers in a community sample of adolescents with obesity in the UK?
  1. Lee Hudson1,
  2. Sanjay Kinra2,
  3. Ian Wong3,
  4. Tim J Cole1,
  5. John Deanfield1,
  6. Russell Viner1
  1. 1 UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, London, UK
  2. 2 London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  3. 3 UCL School of Pharmacy, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lee Hudson; l.hudson{at}


Background Cardiovascular disease (CVD) prediction is problematic within groups of obese adolescents as measures such as adiposity and metabolic markers lack validation. Pulse wave velocity (PWV), a proxy for arterial stiffening, is a potential way to contemporaneously capture adolescents at greater risk of CVD.

Objectives To investigate associations between PWV and 1) adiposity and 2) other conventional metabolic factors in a community sample of (>95th centile body mass index (BMI)).

Design and setting Cross-sectional measurement and analysis in a hospital-based research centre drawn from a community sample of adolescents recruited to an obesity intervention at baseline.

Patients 174 adolescents (12-19 years) with obesity (>95th centile BMI). 37% were male, while 66 (38%) were white, 53 (30%) black, 36 (21%) South Asian, 19 (11%) mixed/other. Participants with endocrine, genetic causes of obesity and chronic medical conditions (excluding asthma) were excluded.

Measures BMI z-score (zBMI), waist z-score, fat mass index (FMI: measured using bioimpedance), sagittal abdominal dimension (SAD), cardiometabolic blood tests and resting blood pressure (BP) were collected. Carotid-radial PWV was measured by a single operator.

Results PWV was associated with age but not pubertal stage. PWV was positively associated with adiposity (zBMI: coefficient 0.44 (95% CI 0.08 to 0.79); FMI: coefficient 0.05 (95% CI 0.00 to 0.10); waist z-score: coefficient 0.27 (95% CI 0.00 to 0.53); SAD: coefficient 0.06 (95% CI: 0.00 to 0.12)). There was no association between PWV and BP, and few associations with cardiometabolic bloods. Associations between PWV and adiposity measures were robust to adjustment in multivariable models except for SAD. Participants with zBMI >2.5 SD and >3.5 SD had greater average PWV but overlap between groups was large.

Conclusions In our sample, increasing adiposity was positively associated with arterial stiffness, however partitioning by severity was not reliable. Lack of associations between BP, cardiometabolic bloods and arterial stiffness questions the reliability of these factors for predicting CVD risk in adolescents with obesity.

  • obesity
  • metabolic
  • adolescent health

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  • Contributors LH produced the first draft of the paper, co-conceived the study and collected the data. SK co-supervised the study and data collection, contributed to the final draft. IW co-supervised the study and data collection, contributed to the final draft. TJC assisted in the analysis and contributed to the final draft. JD co-supervised the data collection and contributed to the final draft. RV was main supervisor for the study, co-supervised the study and contributed to the final draft. All authors approved the final manuscript as submitted and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Central London Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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