Cardiac risk present in very young overweight kids

January 1, 2012

Biomarkers of cardiovascular disease risk, such as dyslipidemia and increased levels of inflammation, are present in overweight children as young as 3 years.

Biomarkers of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, such as dyslipidemia and increased levels of inflammation, are present in overweight children as young as 3 years, say researchers from the University of Miami.

The finding suggests that the health consequences of being overweight manifest at an early age. These health risks vary by ethnic group.

The results strengthen the evidence for intensive lifestyle modification recommendations from pediatricians and primary care physicians for overweight children, especially those of Hispanic descent.

Black and Hispanic boys, and girls of any ethnicity, with high BMI and high waist circumference had higher levels of C-reactive protein compared with their peers with lower BMI and lower waist circumference.

Among Hispanic girls and boys, those with BMI above the 85th and 95th percentiles, respectively, were significantly more likely to have lower levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol compared with peers of the same age and ethnicity with lower BMI.

Triglyceride levels were more likely to be higher for Hispanic boys with BMI above the 85th percentile compared with their counterparts with lower BMI. About 70% of children with elevated cholesterol levels continue to have high levels into young adulthood.

Messiah SE, Arheart KL, Natale RA, Hlaing WM, Lipschultz SE, Miller TL. BMI, waist circumference, and selected cardiovascular disease risk factors among preschool-age children. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011. Epub ahead of print.