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Am J Med Sci. 2005 Aug;330(2):53-9.

Prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in schoolchildren in a rural Georgia community.

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Georgia Prevention Institute, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, 30912, USA.



In the context of a national childhood obesity epidemic, this study sought to document the cardiovascular risk status of children in a rural Georgia community.


Anthropometrics and blood pressure were measured in 211 children, and fasting glucose and lipid profile in 160, recruited from schools in 2002 (grades 2 to 11, ages 7 to 18 years).


Nearly half the schoolchildren (48%) were overweight or at risk of overweight; 15% had metabolic syndrome. Overweight children were at higher risk for metabolic syndrome and had more risk factors. Blood pressure: 19% had elevated systolic blood pressure; 4% had elevated diastolic blood pressure. Glycemia: 14% had impaired fasting glucose levels; no diabetes cases were detected. Lipid profile: 26% had high total cholesterol (>170 mg/dL), 20% had high low-density lipoprotein (>110 mg/dL), 13% had high triglycerides (>150 mg/dL), 43% had low high-density lipoprotein (females, <50 mg/dL; males, <40 mg/dL). Ethnicity, gender, and grade level were not predictive of risk except that fewer black children had low high-density lipoprotein, and blood pressure and body mass index increased with grade, as expected.


Results from this study indicate a significant problem with overweight and cardiovascular risk in rural schoolchildren. Notably, younger children were just as likely to have risk factors as adolescents, suggesting that screening and intervention ought to begin by school age. Ethnic and gender differences in prevalence were not found, suggesting that contextual factors in a rural setting may outweigh demographic influences on risk.

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