A high BMI in childhood linked to greater heart disease risk in adolescence

Nov 26, 2010

Children who have a high body mass index (BMI) between 9 and 12 years of age are more likely to have high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood insulin levels (all risk factors for developing heart disease) by the time they reach adolescence, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal today.

Reassuringly, say the authors, children with a high BMI who shed the weight by the time they reach adolescence have better heart disease risk profiles than those who remain overweight.

It was well known that greater childhood or adolescent obesity is linked to a higher risk of heart disease in later life. However, this is the first study to investigate the link between BMI, , and fat mass at age 9-12 and heart disease risk factors at age 15-16.

A total of 5,235 children took part in the study, led by Professor Debbie Lawlor from the University of Bristol. The children were part of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), which has tracked the health of more than 14,000 children since birth.

The researchers assessed the childrens' BMI, waist circumference, and fat mass between the ages of 9 to 12.

When the children reached adolescence (15 -16 years of age) their blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and insulin levels were tested. Positive results in these tests are risk factors for heart disease.

The results show that a high BMI at age 9-12 was associated with adverse heart disease risk factors at age 15-16, even when the analysis was adjusted for a wide range of other factors. Interestingly, waist circumference or fast mass measurements were not linked with adolescent heart disease risk factors any more strongly than BMI.

It is reassuring, say the authors, that overweight children who change to normal weight by the time they reach adolescence have better risk profiles than overweight children.

However they conclude: "Our findings highlight the need to shift the whole childhood population distribution of adiposity downwards and to develop interventions that safely and effectively reduce weight and improve cardiovascular risk factors in overweight/obese children."

Explore further: Oil-swishing craze: Snake oil or all-purpose remedy?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Larger waist associated with greater risk of death

Aug 09, 2010

Individuals with a large waist circumference appear to have a greater risk of dying from any cause over a nine-year period, according to a report in the August 9/23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/A ...

Recommended for you

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

11 hours ago

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury (Update)

11 hours ago

About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City's jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that's the latest in a growing body ...

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

18 hours ago

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...