Obese Kids At Risk

Cardiovascular disease risk factors were high in a large group of obese kids

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) It's no secret that adult obesity comes with a slew of health risk factors. But new research shows similar risk factors for young kids with obesity as well.

A recent study looked at 49,220 children for blood pressure, insulin levels, cholesterol and heart muscle size. Results found that obese kids had higher risk factors for future cardiovascular disease.

"Help your kids with a healthy diet."

Claire Freidemann, PhD student, led a team of researchers at the University of Oxford in the UK to assess the cardiovascular disease risks for obese children later in life.

For the study, the research team searched databases for studies from 2000 to 2011, and included 63 studies with a total of 49,220 children.

The 63 chosen studies had healthy children aged 5-15 that had body weight data and at least one measure for the risk of cardiovascular disease.

A body mass index (BMI) between 25-29.9 was considered overweight, while anything 30.0 and above was considered obese.

Information found in eight of the studies showed that overweight children had higher systolic blood pressure, 4.54 mm Hg, than normal weight children.

In 15 studies, obese children had 7.49 mm Hg higher blood pressure than normal weight children.

Blood lipids, cholesterol by 0.15 mmol/L and triglycerides by 0.26 mmol/L, were elevated in obese children.

Obese, but not overweight, children showed higher levels of both fasting insulin and insulin resistance as well.

The final measure was thickening of the heart muscle. An increase of 19.12 g of left ventricular mass was found in obese children compared to normal weight children.

All of these measures, when outside the normal range, can put an obese child at a 30-40 percent increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

Authors said, “Weight, and especially obesity, has a significant effect on the risk parameters for cardiovascular disease that are present in children from age five years.”

“This effect could give them a head start on their normal and even overweight classmates for future cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke.”

Further research is needed to fully understand if there is a particular age when childhood obesity has more future risks.

This study was published in September in the British Medical Journal.

No external funding was provided for this study. No conflicts of interest were reported.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
September 26, 2012
Last Updated:
September 30, 2012