Monday, August 13, 2007

Research suggests link between pediatric metabolic syndrome and adult heart disease

Obesity-Linked Woes Boost Kids' Lifetime Heart Risk'

Metabolic syndrome' includes higher blood pressure, cholesterol

By Alan MozesHealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Obese children diagnosed with health problems collectively known as the "metabolic syndrome" are at higher risk for developing heart disease as adults, new research reveals.

Compared to healthier youngsters, school-age children with the condition face a 14.5 times greater risk of cardiovascular disease when they reached their 30s and 40s, the study found.
Components of the syndrome include high blood pressure, high body mass, high blood pressure and high triglycerides (blood fats).

The findings are published in the August issue of Pediatrics.

According to the American Heart Association, more than 50 million Americans have the metabolic syndrome. The condition is typically diagnosed on the basis of having at least three of the following characteristics: abdominal obesity; high blood pressure; insulin resistance (in which the body can't process insulin or blood sugar properly); a high risk for arterial plaque build-up due to high levels of triglycerides, low HDL ("good") cholesterol and high LDL ("bad") cholesterol; and a high risk for clotting and inflammation as indicated by the elevated presence of certain blood proteins.

Researchers long ago established that, for adults, having the metabolic syndrome increases their risk for both heart disease and diabetes. Physicians now recommend that patients combating the condition embark on a weight-loss program geared toward developing healthier eating habits and increased physical activity.

To explore a possible link between pediatric metabolic syndrome and adult heart disease, Morrison and his team cross-referenced data for contributing syndrome characteristics collected from a pool of 771 children between 1973 and 1978, and then again between 2000 and 2004.

The participants were drawn from the Cincinnati region and were between the ages of 6 and 19 in the first study and 30 and 48 in the follow-up study. A little less than three-quarters of the pool were white and a little more than a quarter were black.

Patient blood samples were taken the time of study enrollment and then 25 years later. The researchers gauged blood pressure; body mass index (BMI); and cholesterol. Blood triglyceride and glucose levels were also assessed.

The participants also reported any history of heart attack or stroke, or procedures such as coronary bypass or angioplasty.

Four percent of the participants -- 31 boys and girls -- had metabolic syndrome as children, while more than 25 percent had the condition 25 years later, the researchers reported.

Among those with pediatric metabolic syndrome, almost 70 percent still had the condition as adults, and almost 20 percent had gone on to develop cardiac disease in the intervening years.
In contrast, only 1.5 percent of the children who did not have the syndrome as kids went on to experience heart trouble as adults.

Furthermore, any rise or fall in BMI over the 25 years was linked to a concurrent rise or fall in risk for developing the metabolic syndrome. In that time frame, every BMI bump or drop of 10 points translated into a 24 percent risk increase or decrease for the syndrome, the team reported.


John A. Morrison, Ph.D., research professor, pediatrics and division of cardiology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Ohio; Brenda Kohn, M.D., associate professor, pediatrics, New York University School of Medicine, New York City, and member, medical advisory board, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation; August 2007, Pediatrics

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