Background/Objectives While adiposity and hepatic steatosis are linked to cardiovascular risk in developed countries, their prevalence and impact in low-income countries are poorly understood. We investigated the association of anthropomorphic variables and hepatic steatosis with cardiometabolic risk profiles and subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD) in a large rural Indian cohort. Methods In 4691 individuals in the Birbhum Population Project in West Bengal, India, we performed liver ultrasonography, carotid ultrasound and biochemical and clinical profiling. We assessed the association of hepatic steatosis and anthropomorphic indices (BMI, waist circumference) with CVD risk factors (dysglycemia, dyslipidemia, hypertension) and subclinical CVD (by carotid intimal-medial thickness). Results Rural Indians exhibited a higher visceral adiposity index and pro-atherogenic dyslipidemia at a lower BMI than Americans. Individuals with any degree of hepatic steatosis by ultrasound had a greater probability of dysglycemia (adjusted odds ratio, OR = 1.67, 95% CI 1.31–2.12, P < 0.0001) and pro-atherogenic dyslipidemia (OR = 1.33, 95% CI 1.07–1.63, P = 0.009). We observed a positive association between liver fat, adiposity and carotid intimal-medial thickness (CIMT) in an unadjusted model (β = 0.02, P = 0.0001); the former was extinguished after adjustment for cardiometabolic risk factors. Conclusions In a large population of rural Indians, hepatic steatosis and waist circumference were associated with prevalent cardiometabolic risk and subclinical CVD at lower BMI relative to multi-ethnic Americans, though the association of the former with subclinical CVD was extinguished after adjustment. These results underscore the emerging relevance of hepatic steatosis and adiposity in the developing world, and suggest efforts to target these accessible phenotypes for cardiometabolic risk prevention.
- Carotid intimal-medial thickness
- Liver fat
- Metabolic disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine