Relation of body fat patterning to lipid and lipoprotein concentrations in children and adolescents: the Bogalusa heart study
The latest research on health effects of obesity shows that the location and distribution of fat in an overweight person is important; risk for certain diseases is higher with specific fat patterns. Regardless of the total degree of overweight, truncal (upper-body) obesity has been linked to diabetes and coronary heart disease in adults. But few studies have examined fat distribution in children and adolescents. A group of 361 children aged 6 to 18 who had either unusually low or unusually high levels of very-low- density-lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol and low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol were studied. Measurements included waist circumference and skinfold thicknesses on the back, abdomen, arms and legs; skinfolds are measured with a caliper that pinches the fat under the skin. Regardless of how obese they were, children with greater fat deposits in the trunk and less fat in the limbs had higher blood levels of both types of cholesterol than children with the opposite fat pattern. A truncal fat distribution was also linked to lower levels of high-density-lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol; studies have suggested that low HDL levels may increase the risk for coronary heart disease. Thus assessment of body fat distribution in children and adolescents may help predict their risk of developing hyperlipidemia (elevated blood lipids such as cholesterol) in later life. The authors noted that the results are most likely applicable to the general population, even though the subjects were not randomly selected.
Publication Name: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Increasing impact of obesity on serum lipids and lipoproteins in young adults
An ongoing study of young people in Bogalusa, Louisiana, is assessing at what ages various heart disease risks appear. Since both obesity and high blood cholesterol levels are associated with an increase in the risk of heart disease, the study subjects were followed over several years, with attention focused on their weights and the blood levels of cholesterol. The ages studied were 5 to 10 years, 11 to 16, 17 to 22, and 23 to 26. A significant number of young people in each age group were found to be overweight, when compared with standard suggested weights for their heights. White males were more overweight than black males, and black females were more overweight than white females. Blood cholesterol levels were found to increase with age. Cholesterol is composed of several subgroups, including high density lipoprotein, HDL, which is protective against heart disease, and low density lipoprotein and very low density lipoprotein (LDL and VLDL), both of which are associated with greater risk of heart disease, when present at elevated levels. Increasing levels of obesity were associated with increasing levels of LDL and VLDL cholesterol, particularly in the older age groups. HDL levels dropped with increasing obesity. Thus, risk factors for cardiovascular disease that are associated with obesity appear to begin in childhood, reinforcing the need to reduce the rate of obesity among children. (Consumer Summary produced by Reliance Medical Information, Inc.)
Publication Name: Archives of Internal Medicine
Secular Trends in Height Among Children During 2 Decades
After dramatic increases in the height of children and adults over the previous century, the increases were considered to stop in the 1950's and 1960's, but that may have only been a temporary pause. Between 1973 and 1992, trends toward height increase returned. The largest increases were among African-American boys between five and eight years old, and both boys and girls between nine and 12 years old. Increases among white children were half as large. However, there was no significant increase for children of any race or sex in the 13- to 17-year-old range.
Publication Name: Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine
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