To determine whether adiposity assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) compared to simple anthropometric assessments, are more predictive of abdominal aortic calcification (AAC), a risk factor for atherosclerosis. A cross-sectional study of 312 participants (60.3 % female) aged 70.6 ± 5.6 years was conducted in 2010–2011. AAC was assessed by radiography. Adiposity was estimated for whole body, trunk, android, gynoid and visceral regions using DXA in addition to body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC) and waist to hip ratio (WHR). WHR [tertile 1 as reference, OR (95 % CI) for tertile 3: 3.62 (1.35–9.72)] and android to gynoid fat ratio [tertile 3: 2.87 (1.03–8.01)] were independent predictors of AAC severity among men. Positive associations with AAC severity were observed for WC [tertile 1 as reference, OR for tertile 3: 2.46 (1.12–5.41)], % trunk fat mass [tertile 2: 3.26 (1.52–7.03)], % android fat mass [tertile 2: 2.42 (1.13–5.18), tertile 3: 2.20 (1.02–4.73)] and visceral fat area [tertile 2: 2.28 (1.06–4.87), tertile 3: 2.32 (1.01–5.34)] among women. Indices of total body composition, BMI and % body fat mass were not associated with AAC severity in either men or women. Simple anthropometric measures, WHR and WC were the best predictors of AAC severity in men and women respectively, although higher android to gynoid fat ratio and central fat, assessed by DXA, were also predictive of higher risks of AAC severity in men and women respectively. Our findings add to existing evidence that relatively inexpensive and easily obtained anthropometric measures can be clinically useful indicators of atherosclerosis risk.
- Abdominal aortic calcification
- Body anthropometrics
- Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry