Research published in Journal of the CardioMetabolic Syndrome (JCMS) presents data supporting that adult diseases, such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and sleep apnea are now recognizable in childhood. The underlying link between them is a disorder of insulin resistance, which is worsened by childhood obesity. The annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that about one-third of U.S. children today, about 25 million, are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight.
One study in this special issue reports data on the effect of age and sex on cardiovascular risk in overweight children, aged 11 years and older. Results showed that high blood pressure and dyslipidemia in overweight children is high, with overweight males 11 years and older having a higher prevalence of these risk factors than females and younger males. This may explain the earlier appearance of cardiovascular disease in overweight adult males.
Researchers from Wisconsin, lead by Dr. David K. Murdock examined the effect of elevated body mass index in 247 healthy school children of which 28 percent of 2nd graders and 33 percent of 11th graders were overweight. Data from the study revealed that biomarkers of increased risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes were already present in the overweight children.
“The childhood phase of chronic adult diseases is a dimension of health that has received little attention,” states guest editor of the special focus issue, Dr. Bonita Falkner of the Department of Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University. “The concept of interrupting chronic disease expression at its origin represents a paradigm shift in clinical research and patient care.”
This themed issue further presents review articles discussing management of obesity-related disorders. These include non-pharmacologic treatments, providing evidence that lifestyle changes in the young can result in beneficial outcomes, as well as guidance for clinicians on pharmacologic treatment of the most difficult childhood obesity conditions.
“Together, this collection of articles demonstrates that morbidity from diseases traditionally thought to have expression in middle to late adulthood can now be demonstrated in children and adolescents,” adds Falkner. “An ideal outcome will be prevention of childhood obesity.”
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