(HealthDay News) – Nearly two-thirds of severely obese children aged ≤12 have at least one cardiovascular risk factor.

To assess the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in severely obese children and adolescents, Nathalie MA van Emmerik, from the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, and colleagues conducted a nationwide prospective surveillance study from July 2005–July 2007. Pediatricians were asked to report all new cases of severe obesity in children (aged 2–18 years) to the Dutch Paediatric Surveillance Unit and complete a questionnaire regarding sociodemographic characteristics and cardiovascular risk factors. Severe obesity was defined as corresponding to the adult cut-off point of 35kg/m².

The researchers found that, from 2005–2007, 500 children with newly diagnosed severe obesity were reported. Of the 307 children correctly classified as severely obese, cardiovascular risk factor data were available for 83% of children (255), and 67% had at least one cardiovascular risk factor (56% hypertension, 14% high blood glucose, 0.7% type 2 diabetes, and up to 54% low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol). Of the severely obese children aged  ≤12, 62% already had one or more cardiovascular risk factors.

“In conclusion, a high number (2/3) of severely obese children, even those ≤12 years of age, have cardiovascular risk factors,” the authors write. “Internationally accepted criteria for defining severe obesity and guidelines for the early detection and treatment of severe obesity and comorbidity are urgently needed.”


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