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PMCID: PMC4004692 DOI: 10.1016/j.echo.2014.01.007


Background: Racial differences in carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) have been suggested to be associated with the disproportionally high prevalence of cardiovascular disease in black adults. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of cardiovascular risk factors on the racial differences seen in cIMT in obese children.

Methods: Obese subjects aged 4 to 21 years were recruited prospectively. Height, weight, blood pressure, fasting insulin, glucose, lipid panel, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, and body composition by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry were obtained. B-mode carotid imaging was analyzed by a single blinded physician.

Results: A total of 120 subjects (46 white, 74 black) were enrolled. Black subjects exhibited greater cIMT (0.45 ± 0.03 vs 0.43 ± 0.02 cm, P < .01) and higher lean body mass index (19.3 ± 3.4 vs 17.3 ± 3.2 kg/m², P = .02) than white subjects. Simple linear regression revealed modest associations between mean cIMT and race (R = 0.52, P < .01), systolic blood pressure (R = 0.47, P < .01), and lean body mass (R = 0.51, P < .01). On multivariate regression analysis, lean body mass remained the only measure to maintain a statistically significant relationship with mean cIMT (P < .01).

Conclusions: Black subjects demonstrated greater cIMT than white subjects. The relationship between race and cIMT disappeared when lean body mass was accounted for. Future studies assessing the association of cardiovascular disease risk factors to cIMT in obese children should include lean body mass in the analysis.

Journal Title

Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography : official publication of the American Society of Echocardiography





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MeSH Keywords

Adolescent; African Americans; Body Mass Index; Carotid Intima-Media Thickness; Child; Child, Preschool; Comorbidity; European Continental Ancestry Group; Female; Humans; Male; Obesity; Prevalence; Prospective Studies; Risk Factors; South Carolina; Thinness; Young Adult


Racial Disparities BMI; cIMT; Carotid Intima-media thickness