Accumulation of intra-abdominal fat is related to hypertension. Despite this, a relationship between hypertension and intra-abdominal fat in young adulthood is not clear. In this study, we verify whether intra-abdominal fat accumulation increases a hypertension risk in young adult subjects. In a cross-sectional study, intra-abdominal fat area was measured using a dual bioelectrical impedance analysis instrument in 697 university students (20.3±0.7 years, 425 men). Blood pressure and anthropometric factors were measured. Lifestyle variables including smoking, drinking, physical activity, and eating behavior were assessed with questionnaire. High blood pressure risk (systolic blood pressure ≥130mm Hg and/or diastolic blood pressure ≥85mm Hg) with increasing intra-abdominal fat area was evaluated. Participants were divided into 5 groups according to their intra-abdominal fat area (≤24.9, 25-49.9, 50-74.9, 75-99.9, and ≥100 cm2). As compared with the values of the smallest intra-abdominal fat area group, the crude and lifestyle-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) were elevated in larger intra-abdominal fat area groups [OR 1.31, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.66-2.80; OR 3.38, 95% CI 1.60-7.57; OR 7.71, 95% CI 2.75-22.22; OR 18.74, 95% CI 3.93-105.64, respectively). The risk increase was observed only in men. Intra-abdominal fat accumulation is related to high blood pressure in men around 20 years of age. These results indicate the importance of evaluation and reduction of intra-abdominal fat to prevent hypertension.
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