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cardiovascular, Hispanic, pediatrics, risk factors



  1. Barton, Amy J.
  2. Gilbert, Lynn
  3. Baramee, Julaluk
  4. Granger, Theresa


Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women among all racial and ethnic groups. Identifying risk factors early in life can facilitate use of preventive strategies to reduce risk and improve health status across the life span.


Objective: The aim of this study was to identify modifiable (tobacco smoke exposure, physical inactivity, dietary fat intake, overweight, and high blood pressure [BP]) and nonmodifiable (family history, gender, and age) cardiovascular risk factors in low-income preschool children.


Methods: Low-income preschool children (N = 205) 3-5 years old were recruited to participate. Parents completed a multigenerational cardiovascular health history form and a 24-hour dietary recall for themselves and their child. The children's height, weight, and BP were obtained.


Results: Of the 205 children, 61% reported ethnicity as Latino or Hispanic, 31.7% non-Hispanic White, 1% non-Hispanic Black, 3.9% Asian, and 2.4% mixed race. The number of males (50.7%) and females (49.3%) was similar. Only 22 (10.7%) children had no identified cardiovascular risk factors. At least one modifiable risk factor was present in 179 (87.3%) children. Fifty-two (25.5%) children had a body mass index (BMI) >=85th percentile for gender and age; 44 (22.3%) had a systolic or diastolic BP over the 90th percentile for gender, age, and height; 128 (66.3%) had a dietary fat intake of >30%; 77 (37.6%) watched TV or played video games more than 2 hr/day; and 48 (23.4%) were exposed to passive tobacco smoke.


Discussion: The identification of cardiovascular risk factors in almost 90% of presumably healthy preschoolers provides evidence to support testing of interventions that can improve health behaviors and reduce risks.