(HealthDay News) — The association between obesity and the development of hypertension appears to be driven specifically by visceral adiposity, according to research published in the September 9 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Alvin Chandra, MD, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and colleagues followed 903 normotensive participants of the Dallas Heart Study (median age, 40 years; 57% women; 60% nonwhite; median body mass index, 27.5kg/m²) for a median of seven years to monitor the development of hypertension. Imaging studies were used to assess adiposity, including visceral adiposity.

The researchers found, in multivariable analysis, that higher body mass index was significantly associated with incident hypertension (relative risk, 1.24; 95% confidence interval, 1.12–1.36 per one standard deviation increase). When measures of visceral adipose tissue (VAT), subcutaneous adipose tissue, and lower-body fat were included in the model, the only variable that remained independently associated with incident hypertension was VAT (relative risk, 1.22; 95% confidence interval, 1.06–1.39 per one standard deviation increase).

“It is reasonable health policy at this time to advocate that all obese individuals lose weight via diet and exercise until there is a compelling rationale for any alternate strategy related to regional fat excess,” writes the author of an accompanying editorial.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.

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