(HealthDay News) – For school-aged children, cardiovascular disease risk parameters are worse for those who are overweight, and substantially worse for those who are obese, compared with their normal-weight peers, according to a review published online Sept 25 in BMJ.

Claire Friedemann, from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the literature and meta-analysis to describe the association and its magnitude between body mass index category, sex, and cardiovascular disease risk parameters in healthy children aged 5–15 years in highly developed countries.

A total of 63 studies involving 49,220 children were included. The researchers found that overweight and obese children had worsening of the risk parameters for cardiovascular disease. Systolic blood pressure was 4.54mmHg higher in overweight and 7.49mmHg higher in obese children, compared with normal-weight children. Similar associations were seen for diastolic and 24-hour ambulatory systolic blood pressure. The concentrations of all blood lipids were adversely affected by obesity. In obese, but not overweight, participants, fasting insulin and insulin resistance were significantly higher. The left ventricular mass of obese children was significantly increased (19.12g) compared with normal-weight children.

“Having a body mass index outside the normal range significantly worsens risk parameters for cardiovascular disease in school-aged children,” the authors write. “This effect, already substantial in overweight children, increases in obesity and could be larger than previously thought.”

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