Very obese kids have evident heart disease risk factors

Updated: Jul 24, 2012, 13:37 PM IST

Washington: Two out of three severely obese kids already have at least one risk factor for heart disease, new research has warned.

The authors, who found the presence of high blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose even in under-12s, said that the prevalence and severity of childhood obesity has been on a rise worldwide.

The findings have been based 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 give information on their patients`` cardiovascular risk factors, including high blood pressure, fasting blood glucose levels, and blood fats (lipids).

Over the three years, about 87 percent to 94 percent of paediatricians provided information on 500 children in all.

With a request for further data, 307 of those children were correctly classified as severely obese.

52 percent of these 307 children were boys, who tended to be more severely obese at the younger end of the age spectrum and the reverse was found true for the girls.

67 percent had at least one cardiovascular risk factor. 56 percent had high blood pressure and a similar proportion of 54 percent had high levels of low density ``bad`` cholesterol.

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

The authors revealed that "remarkably" almost 62 percent of those aged 12 and under had one or more cardiovascular risk factors. Only one kid``s obesity was attributable to medical rather than lifestyle factors.

"The prevalence of impaired fasting glucose in [these children] is worrying, considering the increasing prevalence worldwide of type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents," the authors write.

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

This study has been published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.