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Aims To examine the associations of several markers of adiposity and a wide range of cardiovascular risk factors and biomarkers in pre-pubertal children. Methods and results Four measures of adiposity,body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA)-determined fat mass, and leptin concentration, were available in up to 7589 children aged 8.8-11.7 (9.9 mean) years from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Thirteen per cent of boys and 18.8 of girls were overweight, and 5.3 of boys and 5 of girls were obese. Body mass index was highly correlated with waist circumference (r = 0.91), DXA fat mass (r = 0.87), and leptin concentration (r = 0.75), and all had similar associations with cardiovascular risk factors. A 1 kg/m 2 greater BMI was associated with 1.4mmHg (95 CI 1.25-1.44) higher systolic blood pressure (BP). In 5002 children, a 1 kg/m 2 greater BMI was associated with a 0.05 mmol/L (95 CI 0.036-0.055) higher non-high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and 0.03 mmol/L (95 CI -0.034 to -0.025) lower HDL cholesterol. There were also graded associations with apolipoproteins A1 and B, interleukin-6, and C-reactive protein. Comparing children who were obese with those who were normal weight, the odds ratio for hypertension was 10.7 (95 CI 7.2-15.9) for boys and 13.5 (95 CI 9.4-19.5) for girls. Conclusion In pre-pubertal UK children, overweight/obesity is common and has broadly similar associations with BP, HDL cholesterol, and non-HDL cholesterol to those observed in adults. Future research should evaluate whether effective interventions to maintain healthy weight in childhood could have important benefits for adult cardiovascular risk. © 2010 The Author.

Original publication




Journal article


European Heart Journal

Publication Date





3063 - 3072