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Pediatrics. 2004 Dec;114(6):1534-44.

Trends in risk factors for cardiovascular disease among children and adolescents in the United States.

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  • 1Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Hwy, MS K66, Atlanta, Georgia 30341, USA.



The increasing prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents in recent decades might have affected trends in obesity-associated risk factors for cardiovascular disease.


We used data for 12,665 children and adolescents, 2 to 17 years of age, from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988-1994) and for 3611 children and adolescents from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2000.


For participants 2 to 17 years of age, waist circumference increased 1.6 cm among male subjects and 2.4 cm among female subjects. Mean systolic blood pressure increased by 2.2 mm Hg among children and adolescents 8 to 17 years of age. There were significant decreases in concentrations of triglycerides (8.8 mg/dL) and glucose (2.5 mg/dL) among children and adolescents 12 to 17 years of age. Mean concentrations of total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and glycosylated hemoglobin were relatively unchanged. Some changes in means of risk factors varied according to age.


The temporal trends for risk factors among children and adolescents during the 1990s exhibited different patterns. The effects of the increasing prevalence of obesity on the cardiovascular health of children and adolescents remain unclear.

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