Effects of fitness and fatness on age-related arterial stiffening in people with type 2 diabetes

Emily R. Cox*, Wendy J. Brown, Trishan Gajanand, Tom G. Bailey, Sjaan R. Gomersall, Veronique S. Chachay, Nicola W. Burton, Robert G. Fassett, Stephen V. Cox, Jeff S. Coombes, Shelley E. Keating

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


People with type 2 diabetes (T2D) are at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease than the general population. Both non-modifiable (age) and modifiable (low aerobic fitness, high body fatness) factors are separately predictive of cardiovascular risk, although they often occur concomitantly. This study aimed to examine the (1) association between age and arterial stiffness, a subclinical marker of cardiovascular risk; and (2) effects of body fatness and aerobic fitness on age-related increases in arterial stiffness in people with T2D. Data from 64 individuals with T2D (age 59.8 ± 8.7 years, 40% female, HbA1c 8.4 ± 1.6%) were included in this cross-sectional analysis. Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV) was used to quantify arterial stiffness. Aerobic fitness (relative V̇O2peak) was determined via indirect calorimetry during maximal exercise testing. Central body fatness was determined using waist circumference. Data were analysed using hierarchical multiple regressions. After adjustment for sex and duration of T2D, each one standard deviation (SD) increase in age (8.68 years) was associated with a 0.63 m·s−1 increase in cfPWV (β = 0.416, p = 0.001). Following adjustment for aerobic fitness and body fatness, the standardized β was unchanged (0.417). A one SD increase in waist circumference (13.9 cm) and relative V̇O2peak (5.3 ml·kg−1·min−1) were associated with a similar magnitude of difference in cfPWV (0.47 m·s−1 and −0.44 m·s−1, respectively). Therefore, age is a significant correlate of increased arterial stiffness in T2D, with higher aerobic fitness attenuating, and higher body fatness exacerbating, this increase. Interventions aimed at improving cardiovascular outcomes in people with T2D should target both increased aerobic fitness and reduced body fatness.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12519
JournalClinical Obesity
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


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