Abnormalities found in obese children include changes in ventricular mass
"Clinical evidence is accumulating to suggest that the cardiovascular damage, once only observed in adults, is also occurring in obese children," according to researchers from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
Nearly 32% or one in three children in American are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in adulthood but according to researchers cardiovascular disease is also present in obese children.
Dr. Angela Devin, PhD, Assistant Professor in the University of British Columbia Department of Pediatrics and a Research Scientist in the Nutrition Research Program at the Child & Family Research Institute along with colleagues in a review of evidence provided a summary on the current research of cardiovascular abnormalities in obese children and emphasized the importance and need for early detection and prevention programs to diminish this potentially serious health problem.
In their review the researchers noted that there is increasing evidence hat childhood obesity affects both cardiac and vascular structure and function, although many of the mechanisms remain unclear in the absence of longitudinal studies.
Independent of other obesity-related comorbid conditions, such as asthma, depression and insulin resistance obese children may show early signs of cardiovascular dysfunction.
Last year an international study published in the journal BMJ, revealed that children as young as age six can start showing changes to their heart muscles that can lead to problems later on in life.
In this review among the shocking clinical studies of obese children included risk factors for atherosclerosis had a "vascular age" similar to that of a 45-year-old healthy adult and had significantly greater left atrial and left ventricular dimensions than those with a healthy body mass index.
"The cascade of events leading to cardiovascular disease may vary in response to genetic and environmental factors as well as the presence or absence of other comorbidities such as hypertension or dyslipidemia," write the researchers.
"The extent of obesity-related cardiovascular changes (is) likely under-recognized and therefore under-managed, " says the team.
The researchers concluded "What is most apparent from the collective findings in this review is that childhood obesity not only increases cardiovascular risk in adulthood, but is also associated with cardiovascular damage during childhood,” "As such, there is urgent need for prevention and treatment programs designed specifically for children with obesity."
Although some important factors of childhood obesity are known the team comments "many of the specific mechanisms and interactions are incompletely understood in children."
Most important the team argued that while prevention of obesity in children is needed “the indications for intervention and the most effective therapy for obese children with cardiovascular abnormalities (have) not been adequately elucidated."
This review is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology,