In a study of more than 4,500 children, researchers found those with higher waist circumferences had significantly higher pulse pressures, which is known to increase the risk of heart-related disorders, according to an abstract presented today at the American Society of Nephrology's Renal Week conference in Denver.
Gangadarshni Chandramohan, MD, a researcher at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed) and the lead author of the abstract, said the research team studied data from 4,667 children aged 6 to 17 years who were part of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The study's authors advocate for measuring waist circumference rather than body mass index during routine physical examinations to identify children who are at risk for heart disease.
"We found the children's body mass didn't correlate to higher pulse pressures, but their waist circumference did," Dr. Chandramohan said. "This study suggests pediatricians add waist measurements to their routine screening of children to help determine the risk of heart-related disorders. Measuring waist circumference is a much simpler, more cost-effective and a more valid method of screening for the risk of heart-related disorders than the current practice of determining a child's body mass."
Previous studies have found a high pulse pressure the difference between the systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings increases a patient's risk of heart-related disorders as does high blood pressure.
"It is crucial that new indices for measuring various physiologic parameters such as obesity and associated cardiovascular risk factors be determined using valid, minimally invasive and cost-effective tools to help patients avoid long-term health concerns," said Dr. Chandramohan.
Explore further: How can we help patients overcome MRI anxiety?