WEDNESDAY, Dec. 29, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Visceral fat is associated with increased arterial stiffness in youth with obesity, according to a study recently published in Pediatric Obesity.

Simon Higgins, Ph.D., from Elon University in North Carolina, and colleagues evaluated associations between visceral fat and arterial stiffness in youth (ages 10 to 23 years) with healthy weight (236 individuals), obesity (body mass index ≥95th percentile; 224 individuals), and type 2 diabetes (145 individuals). Visceral fat and carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) were assessed via dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and applanation tonometry, respectively.

The researchers found that visceral fat and carotid-femoral PWV were greater in youth with obesity versus a healthy weight. There was a positive association observed between visceral fat and PWV in youth with obesity, and visceral fat was predictive of PWV beyond body mass index and waist circumference.

“We want to prevent cardiovascular disease. We want kids to live strong, healthy lives into adulthood. But to do that, we need to know the underlying factors contributing to poor health outcomes so that we can identify where to target, whether that’s through diet, physical activity, sleep or some other intervention. Identification is key, and then intervention is critical,” a coauthor said in a statement. “One really important take-home message is that arterial stiffness, which predisposes children to cardiovascular disease down the line, looks to be the most pronounced in individuals who have a high body mass index.”

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