Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
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O'Keeffe LM;Bell JA;O'Neill KN;Lee MA;Woodward M;Peters SAE;Smith GD;Kearney PM;
Plos Medicine
Sex-specific associations of adiposity with cardiometabolic traits in the UK: A multi-life stage cohort study with repeat metabolomics.
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Sex differences in cardiometabolic disease risk are commonly observed across the life course but are poorly understood and may be due to different associations of adiposity with cardiometabolic risk in females and males. We examined whether adiposity is differently associated with cardiometabolic trait levels in females and males at 3 different life stages. Data were from 2 generations (offspring, Generation 1 [G1] born in 1991/1992 and their parents, Generation 0 [G0]) of a United Kingdom population-based birth cohort study, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Follow-up continues on the cohort; data up to 25 y after recruitment to the study are included in this analysis. Body mass index (BMI) and total fat mass from dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) were measured at mean age 9 y, 15 y, and 18 y in G1. Waist circumference was measured at 9 y and 15 y in G1. Concentrations of 148 cardiometabolic traits quantified using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy were measured at 15 y, 18 y, and 25 y in G1. In G0, all 3 adiposity measures and the same 148 traits were available at 50 y. Using linear regression models, sex-specific associations of adiposity measures at each time point (9 y, 15 y, and 18 y) with cardiometabolic traits 3 to 6 y later were examined in G1. In G0, sex-specific associations of adiposity measures and cardiometabolic traits were examined cross-sectionally at 50 y. A total of 3,081 G1 and 4,887 G0 participants contributed to analyses. BMI was more strongly associated with key atherogenic traits in males compared with females at younger ages (15 y to 25 y), and associations were more similar between the sexes or stronger in females at 50 y, particularly for apolipoprotein B-containing lipoprotein particles and lipid concentrations. For example, a 1 standard deviation (SD) (3.8 kg/m2) higher BMI at 18 y was associated with 0.36 SD (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.20, 0.52) higher concentrations of extremely large very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) particles at 25 y in males compared with 0.15 SD (95% CI = 0.09, 0.21) in females, P value for sex difference = 0.02. By contrast, at 50 y, a 1 SD (4.8 kg/m2) higher BMI was associated with 0.33 SD (95% CI = 0.25, 0.42) and 0.30 SD (95% CI = 0.26, 0.33) higher concentrations of extremely large VLDL particles in males and females, respectively, P value for sex difference = 0.42. Sex-specific associations of DXA-measured fat mass and waist circumference with cardiometabolic traits were similar to findings for BMI and cardiometabolic traits at each age. The main limitation of this work is its observational nature, and replication in independent cohorts using methods that can infer causality is required. The results of this study suggest that associations of adiposity with adverse cardiometabolic risk begin earlier in the life course among males compared with females and are stronger until midlife, particularly for key atherogenic lipids. Adolescent and young adult males may therefore be high priority targets for obesity prevention efforts.
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