(HealthDay News) – The eating behaviors of preschool-aged children may be tied to measures of future cardiovascular risk, according to a study published online June 17 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Navindra Persaud, MD, from the Keenan Research Centre in Toronto, and colleagues recruited 1,076 children aged 3–5 years from seven primary care practices. Eating behaviors were assessed by the NutriSTEP (Nutritional Screening Tool for Every Preschooler) questionnaire completed by parents. Serum levels of non-high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol were used as a surrogate marker of cardiovascular risk.

The researchers found that the eating behaviors subscore of the NutriSTEP tool was significantly associated with serum non-HDL cholesterol. For each unit increase in the eating behaviors subscore there was an increase of 0.02mmol/L in serum non-HDL cholesterol. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein B were also associated with the eating behaviors subscore, but HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein A1 were not. There was no association between the dietary intake subscore and non-HDL cholesterol.

“Eating behaviors in preschool-aged children are important potentially modifiable determinants of cardiovascular risk and should be a focus for future studies of screening and behavioral interventions,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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