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J Pediatr. 2011 May;158(5):709-714.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2010.10.016. Epub 2010 Dec 13.

Cardiovascular impact of the pediatric obesity epidemic: higher left ventricular mass is related to higher body mass index.

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA.



To compare secular changes in body mass index (BMI) and left ventricular mass (LVM) in today's children versus children of a generation earlier.


All healthy patients aged 2 to 19 years who underwent echocardiography at a single US academic medical center in 1986 to 1989 (prior era) and 2008 (current era) were included in this retrospective cross-sectional study. BMI, BMI z score, LVM indexed to height (LVMI), LVM z score, and relative wall thickness were calculated. Cardiac geometries were assigned based on LVM z score and relative wall thickness and classified as normal, concentric hypertrophy, eccentric hypertrophy, or concentric remodeling. Stepwise regression analysis was performed to identify determinants of LVMI.


There were 350 subjects in the prior era and 350 age- and sex-matched subjects in the current era. Mean BMI and LVMI were both significantly higher in the current era than in the prior era (BMI, 19.9 ± 5.6 kg/m(2) vs 18.1 ± 3.8 kg/m(2), P = .0004; LVMI, 32.7 ± 7.8 g/m(2.7) vs 31.5 ± 8.1 g/m(2.7); P = .02). Determinants of LVMI in both eras were BMI z score, younger age, male sex, and African-American race.


Today's children have higher BMI, LVMI, and predicted cardiovascular risk than their counterparts a generation earlier. Reversal of these trends is needed, and intervention is required.

Copyright © 2011 Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

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