Sex differences in the association of abdominal adipose tissue and anthropometric data with untreated hypertension in a Chinese population

Youzhou Chen, Zhuoli Zhang, Jihong Wang, Huayi Sun, Xingshan Zhao, Xiaoguang Cheng*, Qiong Zhao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: There are inconsistent interpretations of the interrelationship of adiposity, anthropometric indices, and blood pressure (BP) in hypertensive patients. Additionally, whether these relationships differ between sexes is unknown. We aimed to elucidate the associations of adiposity indices measured using quantitative computed tomography (QCT) with BP and hypertension and to determine the effect of sex on the interrelationship of these parameters in a Chinese population. Methods: Abdominal adipose fat, including the visceral adipose tissue (VAT) area and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) area, was measured by QCT in 1488 patients (514 men, 974 women). Body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), hip circumference (HC), and systolic (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP) were measured. Pearson correlation coefficients, multivariate analyses, and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were used to assess the relationship and potential of adiposity indices to BP and risk of hypertension within sex groups. Results: Men had significantly greater VAT area but less SAT area than women in hypertensive group. VAT, SAT, and WC were more highly correlated with SBP in men than in women. After controlling for body weight, height, and age, VAT area and WC were positively associated with SBP (VAT: β = 0.309, p < 0.001; WC: β = 0.148, p = 0.001) and DBP (VAT: β = 0.099, p = 0.034; WC: β = 0.198, p = 0.001) in women. VAT area was positively associated with SBP (β = 0.444, p < 0.001) and DBP (β = 0.146, p = 0.021) in men. WC had a significant correlation with an increased risk of hypertension in women but a borderline association in men (p = 0.059) when adjusted for VAT area and SAT area. Conclusions: The association of abdominal adiposity with hypertension differs qualitatively by sex. WC may be an important determinant of hypertension and may be used for risk stratification for hypertension among Chinese individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number38
JournalBiology of Sex Differences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 17 2020


  • Hypertension
  • Sex
  • Visceral fat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Gender Studies


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