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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2008 Jul;105(1):325-33. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00001.2008. Epub 2008 May 1.

Arterial function in youth: window into cardiovascular risk.

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1
Exercise and Cardiovascular Research Laboratory, Kinesiology and Community Health Department, College of Applied Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illiois, USA. fernhall@uiuc.edu

Abstract

Noninvasive measures of arterial function, such as intima-media thickness (IMT), endothelial function, and arterial stiffness are associated with and are prognostic of cardiovascular events in adults. Postmortem evidence, however, has established that the atherosclerotic process starts in childhood. Furthermore, cardiovascular morbidities in childhood disrupt arterial health and may lead to adverse outcomes in adulthood. Thus it is important to examine the developmental changes in IMT, endothelial function, and arterial stiffness in healthy youth in contrast to the arterial health profile of youth with cardiovascular morbidities and to examine the effect of lifestyle interventions. In healthy youth, IMT may increase slightly, arterial stiffness increases, but there is no change in endothelial function from 5 to 20 years of age. In youth with cardiovascular risk factors there are larger increases in IMT and arterial stiffness, and reductions in endothelial function compared with healthy youth. The reduced arterial function in youth with cardiovascular risk factors may be related to the atherosclerotic process. Exercise and physical activity appear to exert a protective effect on arterial function, and exercise training can improve arterial function in children with cardiovascular risk factors. Furthermore, although diet alone can improve arterial function in children, the combination of exercise and diet appears to be more effective than either intervention alone. Future studies need to focus on the mechanism by which exercise and diet improve arterial function, the most effective types of diet and exercise, and if intervening in childhood leads to favorable outcomes in adulthood.

PMID:
18450990
DOI:
10.1152/japplphysiol.00001.2008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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