Risk Factors at Age 9 Predict Adult Cardiovascular Disease

Number of risk factors at younger ages not as predictive as number at age 9 and over

TUESDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Cardiovascular risk factor assessment in childhood is not predictive of adult cardiovascular disease unless measured at or after 9 years of age, according to research published online Nov. 29 in Circulation.

Markus Juonala, M.D., of the University of Turku in Finland, and colleagues collected data from 4,380 members of four prospective cohorts which included cardiovascular risk factor data from childhood (age 3 to 18) and carotid artery intima-media-thickness (IMT) measurements in adulthood (age 20 to 45). The purpose of the study was to determine the influence of childhood age on the association between childhood risk factors and adult carotid IMT.

The researchers found that an increasing number of risk factors, including total cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and body mass index, were predictive of elevated IMT when measured at ages 9, 12, 15, and 18 years. At age 3 and age 6, the risk factor associations were weaker and not significant.

"Our analyses from four longitudinal cohort studies showed that the strength of the associations between childhood risk factors and carotid IMT are dependent on childhood age. Based on these data, risk factor measurements performed at or after 9 years of age are predictive of subclinical atherosclerosis in adulthood," the authors conclude.

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