Obesity-Hypertension Link Driven by Visceral Fat

(HealthDay News) — The association between obesity and the development of hypertension appears to be driven specifically by visceral adiposity, according to research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Alvin Chandra, MD, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and colleagues followed 903 normotensive participants from the Dallas Heart Study (median age, 40 years; 57% women; 60% nonwhite; median BMI, 27.5) for a median of 7 years to monitor the development of hypertension. 

Imaging studies were used to assess adiposity, including visceral adiposity.

In multivariable analysis, that higher BMI was significantly associated with incident hypertension (relative risk, 1.24; 95% CI, 1.12-1.36 per one standard deviation increase). 

When measures of visceral adipose tissue (VAT), subcutaneous adipose tissue and lower-body fat were included in the model, the only variable that remained independently associated with incident hypertension was VAT (relative risk, 1.22; 95% CI, 1.06-1.39 per one standard deviation increase).

“It is reasonable health policy at this time to advocate that all obese individuals lose weight via diet and exercise until there is a compelling rationale for any alternate strategy related to regional fat excess,” wrote the author of an accompanying editorial.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.


  1. Chandra A et al. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;64(10):997-1002.
  2. Krakoff LR et al. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;64(10):1003-1004.