Author(s): Yuji Shimizu, Mio Nakazato, Takaharu Sekita, Koichiro Kadota, Kazuhiko Arima
Background Previous studies have reported an inverse association between height and risk of cardiovascular disease. However, evidence is limited for the association between risk of atherosclerosis and height. Further, although the association between atherosclerosis and body mass index (BMI) is reportedly positive, there have been no reports of studies on associations between height and atherosclerosis in relation to BMI. Methods We conducted a cross-sectional study of Japanese men aged 30 to 89 years undergoing general health check-ups. Results Of the 1,337 men, 312 were diagnosed with carotid atherosclerosis (carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) ≥ 1.1 mm), but no significant association was found between height and carotid atherosclerosis for the entire study group. Stratification by BMI status of those analytical findings disclosed a significant inverse association between height and carotid atherosclerosis among overweight (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2) but not among non-overweight (BMI < 25 kg/m2) men. The classical cardiovascular risk factors-adjusted odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) of carotid atherosclerosis for an increment of one SD (standard deviation) in height (6.70 cm) were 0.71 (0.54 to 0.94) for overweight (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2) and 1.05 (0.87 to 1.27) for non-overweight (BMI < 25 kg/m2) men. Conclusion Independent from classical cardiovascular risk factors, height was found to be inversely associated with carotid atherosclerosis for overweight but not for non-overweight men.