Clinical Edge

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CV Fat, Disparities & CHD Risk in Midlife Women

Menopause; ePub 2017 Jul 31; Hanley, et al

Among women at midlife, racial differences were found in cardiovascular fat (CF) volumes and in their associations with adiposity measures, a recent study found. The study included 524 participants (mean age 51 years, 62% white, 38% black) from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation who had data on CF volumes, visceral fat (VAT), and body mass index (BMI). Researchers found:

  • Black women had 19.8% less epicardial fat (EAT), 24.5% less paracardial fat (PAT), 20.4% less total heart fat, and 13.2% less perivascular fat compared with white women, after adjustment for age, menopausal status, comorbid conditions, alcohol consumption, and physical activity.
  • Race significantly modified associations between adiposity measures and CF volumes.
  • Every 1-SD higher BMI was associated with 66.7% greater PAT volume in white compared with 42.4% greater PAT volume in black women, whereas every 1-SD higher VAT was associated with 32.3% greater EAT volume in black vs 25.3% greater EAT volume in white women.


Hanley C, Matthews KA, Brooks MM, et al. Cardiovascular fat in women at midlife: Effects of race, overall adiposity, and central adiposity. The SWAN Cardiovascular Fit Study. [Published online ahead of print July 31, 2017]. Menopause. doi:10.1097/GME.0000000000000945.