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Change in abdominal obesity and risk of coronary calcification
  1. Siamak Sabour1,2,
  2. Diederick E Grobbee1,
  3. Mathias Prokop3,
  4. Yvonne T van der Schouw1,
  5. Michiel L Bots1
  1. 1Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Faculty of Health & Nutrition, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, I.R. Iran
  3. 3Radiology Department, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Michiel L Bots, Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht, The Netherlands; m.l.bots{at}


Background A prospective follow-up study was conducted to examine the relationship between 9 year change in abdominal obesity and risk of coronary artery calcification (CAC).

Methods Data on coronary risk factors for 573 postmenopausal women were collected at baseline (1993–1997) and follow-up (2002–2004). At follow-up, the women underwent a multidetector CT to assess coronary calcium using the Agatston score. Markers of abdominal obesity were waist and hip circumference, waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and body mass index.

Results Compared to subjects whose waist circumference remained below the median at both occasions, those with a waist above the median had a 1.5-fold (95% CI 1.0 to 2.3) increased risk of CAC. Women whose waist rose over the 9 year period had a 2.2-fold (95% CI 1.1 to 4.2) increased risk of CAC, whereas women whose WHR became lower had a non-significant 1.5-fold increased risk of CAC (95% CI 0.7 to 3.0). In contrast, change in body mass index or hip circumference was not related to risk of CAC.

Conclusion This study supports the existing evidence that persistent abdominal obesity, as well as an increase in abdominal fat, relates to an increased risk of coronary atherosclerosis.

  • Obesity
  • atherosclerosis
  • prevention
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • heart disease
  • obesity EPI
  • prevention PR

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  • Funding This study was supported by grants from The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development. The first author was supported by the health ministry of I.R. Iran.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Medical Ethics Committee of the University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

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