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Increased Rate of Arterial Stiffening with Obesity in Adolescents: A Five-Year Follow-Up Study

Journal article
Authors Frida Dangardt
Yun Chen
Krister Berggren
Walter Osika
Peter Friberg
Published in Plos One
Volume 8
Issue 2
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication year 2013
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Language en
Keywords cardiovascular risk-factors, pulse-wave velocity, body-mass index, carotid-artery, wall thickness, young finns, all-cause, children, childhood, stiffness
Subject categories Physiology, Clinical neurophysiology


Background We prospectively and longitudinally determined the effects of childhood obesity on arterial stiffening and vascular wall changes. Changes in arterial stiffness measured as pulse wave velocity (PWV) and vascular morphology of the radial (RA) and dorsal pedal arteries (DPA) were examined in obese adolescents compared to lean subjects in a 5-year follow-up study. Methodology/Principal Findings A total of 28 obese subjects and 14 lean controls participated in both baseline (14 years old) and follow-up studies. PWV was measured by tonometer (SphygmoCor®) and recorded at RA and carotid artery, respectively. Intima thickness (IT), intima-media thickness (IMT) and RA and DPA diameters were measured using high-resolution ultrasound (Vevo 770™). Over the course of 5 years, PWV increased by 25% in the obese subjects as compared to 3% in the controls (p = 0.01). Diastolic blood pressure (DBP) increased by 23% in the obese subjects as opposed to 6% in controls (p = 0.009). BMI increased similarly in both groups, as did the IT and IMT. The change in PWV was strongly associated to the baseline BMI z -score (r = 0.51, p<0.001), as was the change in DBP (r = 0.50, p = 0.001). Conclusions/Significance During the transition from early to late adolescence, there was a general increase in arterial stiffness, which was aggravated by childhood obesity. The increase in arterial stiffness and DBP after 5 years was closely correlated to the baseline BMI z -score, indicating that childhood obesity has an adverse impact on vascular adaptation.

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