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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2015

Self-perceived stress is associated with adiposity and atherosclerosis. The GEA Study

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2015
Janinne Ortega-Montiel, Carlos Posadas-Romero, Wendy Ocampo-Arcos, Aida Medina-Urrutia, Guillermo Cardoso-Saldaña, Esteban Jorge-Galarza, Rosalinda Posadas-Sánchez
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

JOM initiated the study and held the overall responsibility. She designed the study, gathered background material, analyzed data, prepared and completed the manuscript. RPS revised the design and the data analyses as well as the article´s intellectual content. CPS drafted the manuscript, revised it critically for important intellectual content and approved the final version of the manuscript. WOA contributed to the design, compiled parts of the background articles and revised the manuscript. AMU contributed to the concept, analyses, and interpretation of data. GCS contributed to acquisition of data and performed data base searches. EJG participated in the design of the study and statistical analyses. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



A growing body of evidence suggests that psychological stress is an independent cardiovascular risk factor. Obesity prevalence shows accelerating trends worldwide, and is known to be associated with a range of comorbidities and survival. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between self-perceived psychological stress with parameters of adiposity, metabolic syndrome, and subclinical atherosclerosis in Mexican participants.


Metabolic Syndrome was defined using the Adult Treatment Panel III criteria, obesity was defined as BMI >30, subclinical atherosclerosis disease was determined by computed tomography, and carotid intima media thickness was determined by ultrasonography. Self-perceived psychological stress was assessed using a single-item questionnaire.


A total of 1243 control subjects were included in the sample, mean age 54.2 ± 9 years old; the prevalence of chronic self-perceived psychological stress (>5 years) was 10.13 %, female gender (62.7 %), obesity prevalence (48.4 %), and self-reporting sedentary lifestyle (56.3 %). The chronic stressed cohort presented higher subcutaneous abdominal fat content (285 vs 319 cm2), and carotid intima media thickness (0.63 vs 0.66 mm; p < 0.01 for both). However, after adjustment for lifestyle/social covariates (Model 1) and biological mediators (Model 2), chronic self-perceived stress was independently associated with obesity in men (OR 2.85, 95 % CI 1.51 – 5.40) and carotid atherosclerosis in women (OR 2.262, 95 % CI 1.47 – 4.67; p < 0.01 for both).


Our study suggests that self-reported chronic stress is an independent risk factor for obesity in men. In addition, carotid atherosclerosis was also found to be an independent risk factor in women in a Mexican population sample.
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