Toddlers who are overweight or obese have higher cardiometabolic risk scores at 11 to 12 years of age, according to a study published in the Aug. 1 issue of Pediatrics.
Kate Lycett, Ph.D., from Deakin University in Burwood, Australia, and colleagues assessed the relationship between overall body mass index (BMI) growth patterns (measured at ages 2 to 11 years) in childhood and cardiometabolic phenotypes at 11 to 12 years among 1,811 children.
The researchers found that overweight and obesity from early childhood onward were strongly associated with higher cardiometabolic risk at 11 to 12 years of age. Compared with a healthy weight, children with overweight at age 6 to 7 years had higher metabolic syndrome risk scores by 0.23 standard deviation (SD) units (95 percent confidence interval, 0.05 to 0.41), while children with obesity had higher risk scores by 0.76 SD units (95 percent confidence interval, 0.51 to 1.01). Associations almost doubled by age 10 to 11 years. Children with obesity had higher outcome pulse wave velocity at ages 6 to 7 years (0.64 to 0.73 SD units) and slightly higher carotid intima-media thickness (0.20 to 0.30 SD units) at all ages. The greatest cardiometabolic risk was seen with cumulative exposure to high BMI from age 2 to 3 years, with a gradient of risk across trajectories.
“High early-childhood BMI is already silently associated with the development of cardiometabolic risk by 11 to 12 years, highlighting the urgent need for effective action to reduce overweight and obesity in early childhood,” the authors write.