Obesity risks to children's hearts

Cardiovascular damage due to obesity can be seen in children as young as seven, according to US researchers.

GPs should monitor BMI in children annually, especially between the ages of three and seven, the team told the American Heart Association scientific sessions in Orlando, Florida, last week.

Over this time 'BMI rebound' occurs. This is when BMI reaches its lowest point before increasing through later childhood.

The data from Cincinnati Children's Hospital in Ohio shows early BMI rebound is linked to a host of adverse cardiovascular outcomes that are evident in seven-year-olds.

The study involved 308 three-year-old children.

Early BMI rebound age, the lowest quartile, was put at 4.4 years for boys and 4.2 years for girls. Late rebound, the upper quartile, was 6.6 for boys and 5.7 for girls.

At age seven it was found in both sexes that early BMI rebound led to higher BMI, higher BP, increased levels of insulin and leptin, as well as a higher left ventricular mass and left atrial size.

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