Children With Obesity to Suffer From Heart Disease as Adults

Aug 18, 2007
A new research has shown that due to obesity, which can lead to the metabolic syndrome, there is a high risk that children will suffer from heart disease as adults.

According to the study, if compared to healthier adults, children of school-age, having the metabolic syndrome, are at a 14.5 times higher risk for development of cardiovascular disease in the future, when they are in their 30s or 40s.

The "metabolic syndrome" has several components, including: high blood pressure, high body mass, high blood pressure and blood fats.

The lead author of the study, John A. Morrison, is a research professor of pediatrics who works in the division of cardiology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, located in Ohio. He stated that it is not a surprise that children with "metabolic syndrome" are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease development in their adult years. However, he mentioned, this is for the first time that a study was able to clearly show and prove this fact.

Taking into consideration the data provided by the American Heart Association, today there are more than 50 million Americans that have the metabolic syndrome.

In order to explore the possible connection of pediatric syndrome with adult heart disease, John A. Morrison together with his research team cross-referenced data from a pool consisting of 771 children between 1973 and 1978, and later again between 2000 and 2004.

The teams of researchers selected, for the first study, from the Cincinnati region people aged between 6 and 19. For the follow-up research there were selected people aged between 30 and 48.

Researchers took patients' blood samples at the beginning of the study and then a quarter of century later. They gauged blood pressure, the index of body mass (BMI), cholesterol, as well as blood triglyceride and the levels of glucose.

Patients were also asked to report whether they ever had a heart attack or stroke, or had some specific procedures such as coronary bypass or angioplasty.

After the study the researchers reported that 4% of patients, 31 boys and girls, were diagnosed with the metabolic syndrome as children, while about quarter of all participants had the condition 25 years later.

70 percent of patients with pediatric condition still had the "metabolic syndrome" as adults, and about 20 percent developed cardiac disease during their intervening years.

Only 1.5 percent of children, who were not diagnosed with the syndrome as kids, developed heart trouble as adults.

In addition, the research team reported that any increase or decrease in BMI over the 25 years had a strong connection with a concurrent increase or decrease in risk for developing the condition. Within that time, every BMI rise or fall of 10 points translated into a 24% risk increase or decrease for the metabolic syndrome.

Researchers stated that their findings could help both doctors and parents in spotting young patients who might face serious illness as adults. The doctors would also be able to figure out ways to reduce the risk.

"So, there's some good news here. Pediatric weight is not destiny. If you're obese as a child, you can do something to lose the pounds. And you must do something to lose the pounds, if you want to reduce risk," said Morrison.

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