Impaired heart function among obese children may help predict later disease

Impaired heart function among obese children and adolescents may be an indicator of future heart disease, a new clinical trial finds. The results were presented Saturday at The Endocrine Society's 95th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

in developed countries worldwide are climbing among all age groups, including children. In the United States today, one-third of children are overweight or obese, which raises concerns about the effects of early weight gain on future health.

Previous research showed that obesity in childhood can cause a type of heart abnormality characterized by blood improperly filling the . One of the earliest signs of obesity-related heart disease, this heart abnormality can eventually weaken the heart until it no longer can pump enough blood for the body's needs, which is a potentially fatal disease known as heart failure.

A primary risk factor for heart failure and other forms of heart disease is diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, which is the most common type, occurs when the pancreas either secretes insufficient insulin to control blood-sugar levels, or when cells are resistant to the hormone. Insulin resistance is one of the early sign of future diabetes.

To determine whether are at greater risk for heart disease than their normal-weight counterparts, investigators measured blood concentrations of insulin and another hormone that also helps regulate the level of sugar, or glucose, in the blood. This other hormone, adiponectin, is secreted by , and at low levels also may indicate diabetes.

They found that obesity, insulin resistance and lower concentrations of adiponectin all were associated with impaired heart functioning. The children who were most likely to exhibit impaired heart functioning had all three of these conditions

"These findings suggest that these youth are at increased risk of long-term heart disease, such as , if they are unable to improve their weight and fitness," said study senior author Gary M. Leong, PhD, associate professor and senior academic fellow in child obesity research and chronic disease prevention at the University of Queensland, Mater Children's Hospital in South Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. "It suggests that adolescents with obesity and should be monitored for impaired left and, in addition to measures to attain a healthier weight, interventions should aim to normalize the metabolic profiles of these youth."

Study participants included 35 overweight and 34 normal-weight youth. Their average age was 15 years. Sixty percent of the overweight and 38 percent of the normal-weight group was female.

Investigators obtained participants' height-to-weight ratios, or body-mass indexes, and analyzed blood samples for sugar, or glucose, insulin, and concentrations. They assessed how well the heart pumped blood with a noninvasive test that uses sound waves to portray the heart's functioning in real time.

The Golden Casket Mater Children's Hospital funded the study, which was conducted by Rachana Dahiya as part of her PhD program.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Insulin resistance linked to weaker bones

Jun 17, 2013

Reduced effectiveness of the hormone insulin, or insulin resistance, is associated with weakened bones, a clinical study shows. The results were presented Sunday at The Endocrine Society's 95th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

Skipping breakfast may make obese women insulin resistant

Jun 17, 2013

Overweight women who skip breakfast experience acute, or rapid-onset, insulin resistance, a condition that, when chronic, is a risk factor for diabetes, a new study finds. The results, which were presented Sunday at The Endocrine ...

Obesity in early 20s curbs chances of reaching middle age

Apr 29, 2013

Young men who are obese in their early 20s are significantly more likely to develop serious ill health by the time they reach middle age, or not even make it that far, suggests research published in the online journal BMJ Op ...

Recommended for you

PCV13 recommended for 6- to 18-year-olds at high risk

13 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine 13 (PCV13) should be administered to certain children aged 6 through 18 years who are at high risk of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD), according to a policy ...

Brain abnormality found in group of SIDS cases

Nov 25, 2014

More than 40 percent of infants in a group who died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) were found to have an abnormality in a key part of the brain, researchers report. The abnormality affects the hippocampus, ...

Eczema cases rising among US children

Nov 24, 2014

(HealthDay)—A growing number of children are being diagnosed with the allergic skin condition eczema—but it can usually be eased with topical treatments, according to a new report.

Adult-sized ATVs deadly for kids, report shows

Nov 24, 2014

(HealthDay)—Santa might think twice about giving kids an all-terrain vehicle this year. Riding ATVs poses high risks of injury or death for children and teens, with dangers differing by age, a new U.S. ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.