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Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 May;91(5):1514S-1519S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2010.28701D. Epub 2010 Mar 24.

Lifetime cardiovascular risk of childhood obesity.

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Children's Mercy Hospital and Clinics, and the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA.


An increase in the incidence and an earlier onset of coronary artery disease is expected because of the increased prevalence of childhood obesity. Comorbidities of obesity, such as dyslipidemia, insulin resistance syndrome, hypertension, associated nutritional deficiencies, and a sedentary lifestyle or associated lifestyle factors such as tobacco smoke exposure, are likely to account for this increase because these are all independent risk factors for accelerated atherosclerosis. Because clinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease does not manifest in obese children, assessment of the subclinical markers of atherosclerosis may help in the evaluation of the progression of atherosclerosis, in further stratification of risk, and in monitoring the effects of intervention. Furthermore, because multiple risk factors with poorly understood interplay might be present in obese children, assessment of the vasculature directly, and perhaps the assignment of a "vascular age," may be a useful method to quantify the "end organ" effect of exposure to these various risks. Obese children may show favorable changes in their behaviors that result in an improvement in clinically measurable risk factors with various clinic-based and behavior modification therapies, but the vascular benefits of such interventions need to be studied further. Broad social, cultural, legislative, and policy changes that support healthy lifestyles within families and communities need to be implemented to decrease the prevalence of childhood obesity and its cardiovascular consequences in communities. The effect of risk factor modification on the vasculature will continue to be a resource for the direction of evidence-based therapy in obese children.

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