Youth Cardiovascular Risk Factors Linked to Early Death

Kids, teens with highest BMI, glucose intolerance show higher rates of death before age 55
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Cardiovascular risk factors in childhood are associated with a higher rate of premature death from endogenous causes, according to research published in the Feb. 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Paul W. Franks, Ph.D., of the National Institutes of Health in Phoenix, and colleagues analyzed data from 4,857 American Indian children and teens who were free of diabetes and underwent at least one examination between 1966 and 2003. The outcome of interest was death before the age of 55 years from endogenous causes such as disease.

The researchers found that youths in the highest quartile of body mass index had a higher rate of death compared to those in the lowest quartile (incidence-rate ratio, 2.30). Those in the highest quartile of glucose intolerance also had higher rates of death compared to the lowest quartile (incidence-rate ratio, 1.73). Cholesterol was not linked to death rates, nor was blood pressure on a continuous scale, but hypertension was associated with premature death (incidence-rate ratio, 1.57).

"Childhood obesity is becoming increasingly prevalent around the globe. Our observations, combined with those of other investigators, suggest that failure to reverse this trend may have wide-reaching consequences for the quality of life and longevity. Such evidence underscores the importance of preventing obesity starting in the early years of life," the authors conclude. "Although we studied a population with high rates of obesity and diabetes, our findings may reflect the future burden of premature death among contemporary children from other ethnic groups and may be more generalizable than the findings in previous studies."

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