Childhood Obesity Alone May Increase Risk of Later Cardiovascular Disease
Obese children may be at a high risk of future heart disease and stroke, even if they have not been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, claims a new study.
Metabolic syndrome is a set of risk factors that can predict the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Though there is not one definition of the metabolic syndrome, for a proper diagnosis, three of the following characteristics must be present: abdominal fat, low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar. “Doctors often do not treat obesity in children now unless they have other features of the metabolic syndrome,” said Nelly Mauras, senior author of the study. She continued, “This practice should be reconsidered.”
The recent study, accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), consisted of over 300 subjects ages 7 to 18 who had normal fasting blood sugar levels, normal blood pressure, and normal cholesterol and triglycerides. The subjects were tested for known markers that predict the development of cardiovascular disease, such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and fibrinogen, a clotting factor. The obese subjects, all otherwise relatively healthy, demonstrated significantly higher CRP and fibrinogen concentrations.
“These findings suggest that we need more aggressive interventions for weight control in obese children, even those who do not have the co-morbidities of the metabolic syndrome,” Mauras stated. She concluded that it would be wise for physicians and other healthcare providers to suggest more aggressive weight-control intervention for “healthy” overweight children.