(HealthDay News) – Child obesity often is accompanied by cardiovascular abnormalities, and early detection and prevention programs are needed to avoid progressive damage at an early age, according to research published online Aug. 14 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Anita T. Cote, PhD, of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and colleagues reviewed the literature to summarize current research on cardiovascular abnormalities in children with obesity.

The researchers found that, independent of other obesity-related comorbid conditions, such as dyslipidemia and insulin resistance, obese children may show early signs of cardiovascular dysfunction. Some of the abnormalities detected in obese children and adolescents include changes in ventricular mass, dimensions, and function; changes in vascular structure and function; and changes in autonomic function.

“What is most apparent from the collective findings in this review is that childhood obesity not only increases cardiovascular risk in adulthood, but is also associated with cardiovascular damage during childhood,” the authors write. “As such, there is urgent need for prevention and treatment programs designed specifically for children with obesity.”

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)