Two out of three very obese kids already have heart disease risk factors

July 23, 2012

Two out of three severely obese kids already have at least one risk factor for heart disease, suggests research published online in Archives of Disease in Childhood.

The prevalence and severity of has been rising worldwide, but little research has been carried out on the underlying health problems that children with severe weight problems have, say the authors.

They base their findings on data supplied by paediatricians to the Dutch Paediatric Surveillance Unit between 2005 and 2007.

During this period, doctors treating all new cases of severe obesity in children from the ages of 2 to 18 across The Netherlands were asked to supply information on their patients' cardiovascular risk factors, including , fasting , and (lipids).

The definition of severe obesity started at a (BMI) of 20.5 for a 2 year old, at 31 for a 12 year old, and at 35 for an 18 year old.

Over the three years, most (87% to 94%) of paediatricians submitted their monthly findings on every severely obese child they treated to the surveillance unit, providing information on 500 children in all.

When paediatricians were contacted again, with a request for further data, 363 responded and 307 of their children were correctly classified as severely obese.

Just over half (52%) of these 307 children were boys. They tended to be more severely obese at the younger end of the age spectrum; the reverse was true of girls. Full information on cardiovascular risk factors was available for 255 (83%).

Two out of three (67%) had at least one cardiovascular risk factor. Over half (56%) had high blood pressure; a similar proportion (54%) had high levels of low density 'bad' cholesterol; one in seven (14%) had high fasting blood glucose; and just under 1 per cent already had type 2 diabetes.

And "remarkably" say the authors, almost two thirds (62%) of those aged 12 and under had one or more . Only one child's obesity was attributable to medical rather than lifestyle factors.

Nearly one in three severely obese children came from one parent families.

"The prevalence of impaired fasting glucose in [these children] is worrying, considering the increasing prevalence worldwide of in children and adolescents," write the authors.

"Likewise, the high prevalence of hypertension and abnormal lipids may lead to cardiovascular disease in young adulthood," they add.

And they conclude: "Internationally accepted criteria for defining severe obesity and guidelines for early detection and treatment of severe obesity and [underlying ill health] are urgently needed."

Explore further: ECO: Behavioral treatment for obesity effective in children

More information: High cardiovascular risk in severely obese young children and adolescents, Arch Dis Child 2012; 0:1–4. doi:10.1136/archdischild-2012-301877

Related Stories

ECO: Behavioral treatment for obesity effective in children

May 14, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Behavioral treatment for obesity is much more effective for younger children than for adolescents, according to a study presented at the European Congress on Obesity, held from May 9 to 11 in Lyon, France.

WHO growth curves offer no distinct advantage over CDC measures

April 30, 2012
Several medical organizations have recently recommended that doctors switch from using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) growth curves to the World Health Organization (WHO) growth curves to better determine ...

Recommended for you

Asthma drug tied to nightmares, depression

September 20, 2017
(HealthDay)—The asthma medication Singulair (montelukast) appears linked to neuropsychiatric side effects, such as depression, aggression, nightmares and headaches, according to a new review by Dutch researchers.

Parents not confident schools can assist child with chronic disease, mental health

September 18, 2017
If your child had an asthma attack during the school day, would school personnel know how to respond?

Premature infants may get metabolic boost from mom's breast milk

September 14, 2017
The breast milk of mothers with premature babies has different amounts of microRNA than that of mothers with babies born at term, which may help premature babies catch up in growth and development, according to researchers.

Explaining bursts of activity in brains of preterm babies

September 12, 2017
The source of spontaneous, high-amplitude bursts of activity seen in the brains of preterm babies, which are vital for healthy development, has been identified by a team led by researchers at UCL and King's College London.

Why one teenager may need more—or less—sleep than another

August 30, 2017
Sleep problems contribute to a number of mental health issues in adolescents, researchers say. But a lingering question is whether some teens need more—or less—sleep than others to be healthy and at their best.

Study shows probiotics can prevent sepsis in infants

August 17, 2017
A research team at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health has determined that a special mixture of good bacteria in the body reduced the incidence of sepsis in infants in India by 40 percent at ...

0 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.