Study finds that cardiometabolic risk factors in children and young adults increase with increasing severity of obesity.
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has reported on cardiometabolic risk factors in children and young adults, according to severity of obesity. Data on obese children and young adults aged between 3 and 19 years of age, derived from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2012), were assessed to determine the presence of cardiometabolic risk factors. The risk factors were analysed in terms of severity of obesity, which was separated into distinct categories according to BMI:
- Overweight – ≥85th to <95th percentile
- Class I obesity ≥95th percentile to <120% of the 95th percentile
- Class II obesity ≥120% to <140% of the 95th percentile, or BMI ≥35 (whichever was lower)
- Class III obesity ≥140% of the 95th percentile, or BMI ≥40 (whichever was lower)
A total of 8579 children and young adults were included in the study. All children had a BMI at least in the 85th percentile. While 46.9% of participants were overweight, 36.4% were classified as having class I obesity, 11.9% were classified as having class II obesity, and 4.8% were classified as having class III obesity.
The study reported that in the 12-19 year age group, cardiometabolic risk factors (low HDL cholesterol level, high systolic and diastolic blood pressures, and high triglyceride and glycated hemoglobin levels) were found to increase with increasing weight category. This result was, for the most part, also evident in the 6-11 year age group. The increased cardiometabolic factors were seen when taking into account other factors such as age, ethnic group, and sex.
The researchers concluded that with increased severity of obesity in children and young adults comes an associated increase in the presence of cardiometabolic risk factors. The results highlight a sub-group of children and young adults to which extra medical care and preventive strategies should be given, to avoid future risk.
Asheley C. Skinner, Ph.D., Eliana M. Perrin, M.D., M.P.H., Leslie A. Moss, M.H.A., C.H.E.S., and Joseph A. Skelton, M.D. “Cardiometabolic Risks and Severity of Obesity in Children and Young Adults” N Engl J Med 2015; 373:1307-1317
Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD