School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences Faculty Publications and Presentations

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BACKGROUND: Excess visceral adipose tissue (VAT) is a primary driver for the cardiometabolic complications of obesity; VATassociated cardiovascular disease risk varies by race, but most studies have been done on Non-Hispanics. This study aimed to evaluate the clinical and metabolic correlates of VAT, its association with subclinical atherosclerosis, and the factors affecting this association in Mexican Americans.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Participants (n=527) were drawn from the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort (CCHC), on whom a carotid ultrasound to assess carotid intima media thickness and a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan to assess for VAT were obtained. Those in the highest quartiles of VAT were more likely to have hypertension, hypertriglyceridemia, low high-density lipoprotein, diabetes mellitus, and metabolic syndrome. Increased carotid intima media thickness was more prevalent in those in the highest quartile for VAT (57.4% versus 15.4% for the lowest quartile; P<0.001). There was a graded increase in mean carotid intima media thickness with increasing VAT, after adjusting for covariates; for every 10 cm2 increase in VAT, there was an increase of 0.004 mm (SE=0.002; P=0.0299) in mean carotid intima media thickness. However, this association was only seen among second or higher generation US-born Mexican Americans but not among first generation immigrants (P=0.024).

CONCLUSIONS: Excess VAT is associated with indicators of metabolic disorders and subclinical atherosclerosis in Mexican Americans regardless of body mass index. However, acculturation appears to be an important modulator of this association. Longitudinal follow-up with targeted interventions among second or higher generation Hispanics to lower VAT and improve cardiometabolic risk may help prevent premature cardiovascular disease in this cohort.


© 2020 The Authors.

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Journal of the American Heart Association





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