Obese children have significantly elevated cardiovascular risk factors, according to the results of a meta-analysis of previous studies published in the September 25, 2012, edition of BMJ
. The meta-analysis also found increased cardiovascular risk for overweight children, although it was less pronounced.
The meta-analysis, carried out by researchers at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, looked at 63 studies conducted after 1990 and published between 2001 and 2011 including healthy children aged 5 to 15 years. The studies were carried out in 23 highly developed countries and included 49,220 participants.
The results showed elevated cardiovascular risk factors for overweight and obese participants compared with normal weight participants. Systolic blood pressure was 4.54 mm Hg higher in overweight and 7.29 mm Hg higher in obese participants. Total cholesterol was 0.15 mmol/L higher for obese participants. Triglycerides were 0.21 mmol/L higher for overweight and 0.26 mmol/L higher for obese participants. Fasting insulin levels and insulin resistance were both significantly higher in obese participants, but not overweight ones. Finally, left ventricular mass was 19.12 g higher for obese participants, a difference that remained significant after adjusting for height.
In all, the results indicate that overweight and particularly obese children have a significantly elevated risk for conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke.