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Am J Epidemiol. 2012 Oct 1;176 Suppl 7:S142-9. doi: 10.1093/aje/kws236.

Relation of childhood obesity/cardiometabolic phenotypes to adult cardiometabolic profile: the Bogalusa Heart Study.

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Tulane Center for Cardiovascular Health, Department of Epidemiology, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.


Not all obese adults have cardiometabolic abnormalities. It is unknown whether this is true in children and, if true, whether children who have metabolically healthy overweight/obesity (MHO) will also have favorable cardiometabolic profiles in adulthood. These aspects were examined in 1,098 individuals who participated as both children (aged 5-17 years) and adults (aged 24-43 years) in the Bogalusa Heart Study between 1997 and 2002 in Bogalusa, Louisiana. MHO was defined as being in the top body mass index quartile, while low density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, mean arterial pressure, and glucose were in the bottom 3 quartiles, and high density lipoprotein cholesterol was in the top 3 quartiles. Forty-six children (4.2%) had MHO, and they were more likely to retain MHO status in adulthood compared with children in other categories (P < 0.0001). Despite markedly increased obesity in childhood and in adulthood, these same MHO children and adults showed a cardiometabolic profile generally comparable to that of nonoverweight/obese children (P > 0.05 in most cases). Moreover, there was no difference in carotid intima-media thickness in adulthood between MHO children and nonoverweight/obese children. Further, carotid intima-media thickness in adulthood was lower in MHO children than in metabolically abnormal, overweight/obese children (P = 0.003). In conclusion, the MHO phenotype starts in childhood and continues into adulthood.

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