Background and Purpose – The relationship between abdominal body fat and cardiovascular health is not completely understood. This study investigated the association between percent body fat, fat distribution and intima-media thickness (IMT) in healthy middle-aged women.
Methods – 224 middle-aged (mean age = 43.1 years ± 3.0), nonsmoking women were included in this study. The women were assessed with a B-mode, high-resolution ultrasonograph to measure the intima-media thickness of the right common carotid artery (CCA). Measurements for percent body fat and fat distribution were assessed using Bod Pod and waist circumference (WC) measured at the umbilicus, respectively.
Results – Data were separated into quartiles with the middle two groups combined in order to identify potential differences in IMT based on waist circumference and body fat percent groups. Mean IMT for the entire sample was .569 mm ± .06. Multiple regression with and without control for potential confounding factors yielded insignificant results for all analyses.
Conclusions – In the present study, using a sample of healthy middle-aged women, there were no differences in IMT based on overall body fat percent or waist circumference measurements. This finding is somewhat unexpected, however, regional body fat and CCA-IMT have been shown in some, but not all studies to be positively associated with IMT. More research is needed in this area in order to more clearly identify and understand early risk for cardiovascular disease in women.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Exercise Sciences



Date Submitted


Document Type





Body fat, fat distribution, and carotid artery intima-media thickness