Cardiometabolic Lay Summaries

Increased risk of cardiovascular disease associated with smoking and oral contraceptive use in adolescent girls

Keywords: adolescent smoking, cardiovascular risk factors, oral contraceptives, sex differences

What is already known about this subject:

  • C-reactive protein levels in blood samples increase when there is inflammation in the body. C-reactive protein levels can also be used to predict cardiovascular disease risk.
  • Smoking and oral contraceptives also increase C-reactive protein levels in adults, and this may further increase cardiovascular disease risk.
  • It is not known if smoking and oral contraceptive use affect C-reactive protein levels in adolescents.

What this Raine study adds:

  • Smoking, oral contraceptive use and blood test data in Raine participants at 17 years of age found increased C-reactive protein levels in girls who smoked and in girls who used oral contraceptives, but not in boys.
  • C-reactive protein levels are important in detecting cardiovascular disease risk, particularly in women. These results may help to explain why women are at greater risk of cardiovascular disease from smoking than men.

Le-Ha, C., Beilin, L. J., Burrows, S., Oddy, W. H., Hands, B., & Mori, T. A. (2014). Gender and the active smoking and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein relation in late adolescence. Journal of Lipid Research, 55(4), 758-64. doi:10.1194/jlr.P045369. [publink]

Preeclampsia and cardiovascular disease share genetic risk factors

Keywords: cardiovascular disease, genetic inheritance, pregnancy, preeclampsia, risk factors

What is already known about this subject:

  • Preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy that can cause serious harm to both mother and child.
  • Cardiovascular disease and preeclampsia share many features and tend to occur in the same families, suggesting that they may be genetically related.
  • A recent study identified four genes that were associated with both preeclampsia and cardiovascular disease risk, but further study is needed to confirm these findings in other populations.

What this Raine study adds:

  • DNA, obstetric and blood test data from Raine participants and their mothers confirmed the association between the four gene variants and cardiovascular disease risk in mothers and their children.
  • One of the gene variants was also associated with a lower risk of having a mother with preeclampsia.
  • Genetic susceptibility to preeclampsia and cardiovascular disease is complex and shows some overlap, but further study is needed to fully understand the genetic mechanisms involved.

Løset, Mari, Matthew P. Johnson, Phillip E. Melton, Wei Ang, Rae-Chi Huang, Trevor A. Mori, Lawrence J. Beilin, et al. 2014. “Preeclampsia and Cardiovascular Disease Share Genetic Risk Factors on Chromosome 2q22.” Pregnancy Hypertension: An International Journal of Women’s Cardiovascular Health 4 (2) (April): 178-185. doi:10.1016/j.preghy.2014.03.005. [publink]

Lifestyle factors increase blood pressure in late adolescence

Keywords: adolescent, alcohol consumption, blood pressure, body mass index, gender differences, oral contraceptives, salt intake, lifestyle factors

What is already known about this subject:

  • Many lifestyle habits start during adolescence, some of which may influence blood pressure and future risk of heart disease.
  • A range of adult lifestyle factors are known to influence blood pressure, including oral contraceptive use, diet, smoking, alcohol consumption and physical activity.
  • Health behaviours in adolescents may differ between boys and girls and lead to different risks and health outcomes.

What this Raine study adds:

  • Measures of blood pressure and information describing lifestyle factors in Raine participants at 17 years of age showed that oral contraceptive use, weight status, alcohol use and salt intake affected blood pressure during late adolescence, and that the effects differed between adolescent girls and boys.
  • The 30% of girls who used oral contraceptives had higher blood pressure than those who didn’t use them. Boys who drank alcohol had higher blood pressure than those who didn’t drink alcohol.
  • High salt intake increased blood pressure in both girls and boys, and there was a strong relationship between weight status and blood pressure, particularly in boys.
  • Health interventions targeting lifestyle factors in adolescents may be a useful way of reducing the burden of high blood pressure and potentially heart disease in adults.

Le-Ha, C., Beilin, L. J., Burrows, S., Huang, R.-C., Oddy, W. H., Hands, B., & Mori, T. A. (2013). Oral contraceptive use in girls and alcohol consumption in boys are associated with increased blood pressure in late adolescence. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 20(6), 947-55. doi:10.1177/2047487312452966. [publink]

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and metabolic syndrome increase heart disease risk in adolescents

Keywords: cardiovascular disease, liver, metabolic syndrome, risk factors, blood pressure

What is already known about this subject:

  • People diagnosed with ‘metabolic syndrome’ have a combination of the most dangerous heart attack risk factors, including diabetes and pre-diabetes, abdominal obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common liver condition worldwide (affecting up to 30% of adults and up to 18% of adolescents). The main cause of death in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is cardiovascular disease.
  • It is not known whether having non-alcoholic fatty liver disease directly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, or whether they are both outcomes of a similar profile of poor health.

What this Raine study adds:

  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease was found in 13% of Raine participants at 17 years of age, and 17.5% were classed as being at ‘high risk’ of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.
  • Rather than being an independent risk for cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease was found to be part an overall adverse health profile that increases the risk of heart disease.
  • Prevention strategies should be targeted at causes of metabolic syndrome, rather than specifically targeting non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Huang, Rae-Chi, Lawrence J Beilin, Oyekoya Ayonrinde, Trevor A Mori, John K Olynyk, Sally Burrows, Beth Hands, and Leon A Adams. 2013. “Importance of Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in the Association between Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Arterial Stiffness in Adolescents.” Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) 58 (4) (October): 1306-14. doi:10.1002/hep.26495. [publink]

Passive smoking affects cholesterol levels in adolescent girls

Keywords: adolescent, cardiovascular disease, cholesterol, sex characteristics, passive smoking

What is already known about this subject:

  • High-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C, also known as ‘good’ cholesterol) is the type of cholesterol that removes fats and cholesterol from cells and blood vessel walls. In general, having higher HDL cholesterol levels is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
  • Passive smoking is an important risk factor for heart disease, and children exposed to tobacco smoke have lower HDL cholesterol levels.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women in the Western world, and women who smoke have a 25% higher risk of heart disease than men who smoke. It is not known if girls exposed to passive smoke are at higher risk of heart disease than boys.

What this Raine study adds:

  • Blood samples and lifetime tobacco smoke exposure data from Raine participants at 17 years of age revealed that girls exposed to passive smoking had lower HDL cholesterol levels than girls from non-smoking households. This was not the case in boys.
  • Girls who smoked also had lower HDL cholesterol levels. Again, this was not the case in boys.
  • Lower HDL cholesterol levels in girls exposed to passive smoking could increase their risk of heart disease during adulthood. This reinforces the need for public health measures to reduce children’s exposure to passive smoking.

Le-Ha, Chi, Lawrence J Beilin, Sally Burrows, Rae-Chi Huang, Wendy H Oddy, Beth Hands, and Trevor A Mori. 2013. “Gender Difference in the Relationship between Passive Smoking Exposure and HDL-Cholesterol Levels in Late Adolescence.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 98 (5) (May): 2126-35. doi:10.1210/jc.2013-1016. [publink]

Dietary fructose indirectly increases blood pressure in adolescents

Keywords: adolescent, blood pressure, diet, fructose

What is already known about this subject:

  • High blood pressure is the most common disease of Western populations, and is becoming more common in adolescents. High blood pressure in adolescence increases the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure in adulthood.
  • Rising rates of obesity have largely been thought to be responsible for increases in adolescent blood pressure, but increasing intake of dietary fructose may also be important.
  •  Fructose is a sugar found naturally in fruit, and also in table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. In Western diets, most fructose comes from sugar-sweetened drinks.

What this Raine study adds:

  • Eleven percent of Raine teenagers had high blood pressure at 14 years of age. No direct relationship was found between fructose intake and blood pressure.
  • An indirect relationship was found between fructose intake and blood pressure when by-products of fructose metabolism were measured, although this was only the case in boys.
  • Soft drinks contributed 62% of the fructose intake of Raine teenagers, and consumption was highest in lower income families.
  • Maintaining a healthy blood pressure is essential for good health, and minimising fructose intake in teenagers may help reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease later in life. Reducing soft drink intake may be a useful way to achieve this.

Bobridge, K S, G L Haines, T A Mori, L J Beilin, W H Oddy, J Sherriff, and T A O’Sullivan. 2013. “Dietary Fructose in Relation to Blood Pressure and Serum Uric Acid in Adolescent Boys and Girls.” Journal of Human Hypertension 27 (4) (April): 217-24. doi:10.1038/jhh.2012.36. [publink]

Depression during childhood influences risk of cardiovascular disease in adolescence

Keywords: child, adolescent, anxiety, cardiovascular disease, depression

What is already known about this subject:

  • Depression has been consistently linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Both depression and cardiovascular disease have origins in childhood and track from adolescence to adulthood.
  • It has been shown that both adults and children with symptoms of depression are at increased risk of being obese. However, little is known about the relationship between depression and other cardiovascular risk factors in children.
  • The relationship between depression and cardiovascular risk in adults is complicated; the relationship may be clearer in children where other environmental and lifestyle factors have had less time to have influence.

What this Raine study adds:

  • Less than 5% of the children studied had problems with depression at each follow-up.
  • Depression measures and cardiovascular risk factors (including blood pressure, height, weight and blood tests) at 5, 8, 10 and 14 years of age in Raine participants showed that symptoms of depression influenced cardiovascular risk factors, but differently in boys and girls.
  • Symptoms of depression were associated with a higher body mass index and insulin resistance in girls at 14 years of age, and with lower blood pressure throughout childhood in boys.
  • Childhood depression is an important target for health measures to prevent cardiovascular disease in adulthood.

Louise, Sandra, Nicole M Warrington, Pamela a McCaskie, Wendy H Oddy, Stephen R Zubrick, Beth Hands, Trevor a Mori, et al. 2012. “Associations between Anxious-Depressed Symptoms and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in a Longitudinal Childhood Study.” Preventive Medicine 54 (5) (May): 345-50. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2012.03.004. [publink]

Preeclampsia and cardiovascular disease share genetic risk factors

Keywords: maternal health, adolescent, preeclampsia, cardiovascular disease, risk factors, genes

What is already known about this subject:

  • Preeclampsia is a condition that can develop during pregnancy and is typically characterised by high blood pressure and high levels of protein in the urine. Preeclampsia can be harmful to both mother and baby, and the only ‘treatment’ is to deliver the baby and placenta.
  • A predisposition to cardiovascular disease is an important risk factor for preeclampsia, and preeclampsia and cardiovascular disease have features in common, including endothelial dysfunction (in which the inner lining of the blood vessels fails to function properly), inflammation and other metabolic abnormalities.
  • Genetic studies may help to clarify the relationship between the preeclampsia and cardiovascular disease, by identifying genes common to both diseases.

What this Raine study adds:

  • Several associations were found between preeclampsia susceptibility genes and risk factors related to cardiovascular disease. These associations were found in both mothers and adolescents participating in the Raine study (using blood and DNA from adolescents and their mothers, plus clinical measures relevant to cardiovascular disease).
  • Each of the four preeclampsia susceptibility genes tested was related to cardiovascular risk factors; including blood cholesterol, glucose and insulin levels, and measures of body size and fatness including weight, body mass index, and skinfold thickness.
  • A better understanding of factors increasing the risk of preeclampsia may help to identify those women who are most at risk and to develop new treatment strategies for this complication of pregnancy.

Løset, M., M.P. Johnson, C. Pennell, R.-C. Huang, T. Mori, L. Beilin, P. Melton, et al. 2012. “Shared Genetic Risk Factors for Preeclampsia and Cardiovascular Disease.” Pregnancy Hypertension: An International Journal of Women’s Cardiovascular Health 2 (3) (July): 214-215. doi:10.1016/j.preghy.2012.04.071. [publink]

Identification of new genetic risk factors for childhood obesity

Keywords: child, adolescent, body mass index, genetic markers, obesity

What is already known about this subject:

  • Childhood and adolescent obesity is a major health problem and is associated with increased mortality in later life.
  • Lifestyle and environmental factors are known to be important in causing obesity, but there is also strong evidence to suggest that genetics may also be important.
  • Some of the genes that contribute to obesity in adults have been identified. Less is known about the genes that cause obesity in children.

What this Raine study adds:

  • Genome-wide analysis in over 20,000 individuals from population-based cohorts in Australia, North America and Europe (including DNA, height and weight measurements from Raine participants at 2, 3, 5, 8, 10, 14 and 17 years of age) identified two new genes that are associated with obesity in early life.
  • Both newly identified genes are involved in gut function, but the specific way in which they contribute to obesity still needs to be determined.
  • Understanding the genetic risk factors for obesity may help identify children and adolescents who are most at risk.

Bradfield, Jonathan P, H Rob Taal, Nicholas J Timpson, André Scherag, Cecile Lecoeur, Nicole M Warrington, Elina Hypponen, et al. 2012. “A Genome-Wide Association Meta-Analysis Identifies New Childhood Obesity Loci.” Nature Genetics 44 (5) (May): 526-31. doi:10.1038/ng.2247. [publink]

Aggressive behaviour in children is associated with risk factors for cardiovascular disease

Keywords: adolescent, behaviour, cardiovascular diseases, blood pressure, obesity, risk factors, psychology

What is already known about this subject:

  • A person’s psychological traits and behaviours can impact their risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Cardiovascular disease risk factors and psychological traits can both be established early in life.
  • Aggression is a trait that is present from childhood and is strongly linked with behavioural traits (eg. depression, hostility, anger) that have been associated with cardiovascular disease. It is not known if childhood aggression itself can directly influence cardiovascular disease risk.

What this Raine study adds:

  • Psychological information and data from physical assessments (including height, weight and blood pressure) and blood tests from Raine participants between 5 and 14 years of age revealed that aggressive behaviours influence a range of cardiovascular disease risk factors.
  • Associations between aggression and cardiovascular risk factors are evident from as young as 5 years of age and differ between girls and boys.
  •  Early interventions may be possible that target both behavioural disorders and cardiovascular disease.

Louise, S., Warrington, N. M., McCaskie, P. A., Oddy, W. H., Zubrick, S. R., Hands, B., Mori, T. A., Briollais, L., Silburn, S., Palmer, L. J., Mattes, E., Beilin, L. J. (2012). Associations between aggressive behaviour scores and cardiovascular risk factors in childhood. Pediatric Obesity, 7(4), 319-28. doi:10.1111/j.2047-6310.2012.00047.x [publink]

Early life influences increase cardiometabolic disease risk

Keywords: birth weight, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, pregnancy, risk factors, fetal programming

What is already known about this subject:

  • Many adult diseases have their origins in early childhood, and genetic and environmental factors can affect both the pregnant mother and her child in utero (a process known as ‘fetal programming’). It is thought that fetal programming effects plus factors during early childhood may play an important role in determining an individual’s risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease in later life, but the most important factors need to be identified.
  • A low birth weight can indicate that a baby has been exposed to a less than ideal intrauterine environment. Low birth weight is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in later life, as is high birth weight. Associations between both high and low birth weights and cardiovascular disease have been shown in populations in developing countries, but never in a ‘Western’ population.

What this Raine study adds:

  • Data collected from Raine participants confirmed that both low and high birth weight are risk factors for cardiometabolic disease, showing that fetal programming occurs in a modern, Western human population.
  •  Fetal programming is an ongoing process, starting in utero and able to be modified by other factors (such as overweight or obesity) during early childhood.
  •  Maternal smoking during pregnancy, maternal obesity, hypertension and diabetes increase the risk for metabolic disease in the child. Breast feeding protects against cardiometabolic disease.
  • A balance of adverse and protective factors is at work during early life, and those that are modifiable (such as maternal smoking) can be targeted by public health programmes.

Huang, Rae-Chi, Trevor a Mori, and Lawrence J Beilin. 2012. “Early Life Programming of Cardiometabolic Disease in the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study.” Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology & Physiology 39 (11) (November): 973-8. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1681.2012.05746.x. [publink]

Risk factors for heart disease differ between adolescent boys and girls

Keywords: adolescent, birth weight, body mass index, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, risk factors, gender differences

What is already known about this subject:

  • Childhood obesity, early onset type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome are important health issues. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of features related to cardiovascular disease, including obesity and increased blood pressure.
  • Birth weight and childhood obesity are risk factors for cardiovascular disease, though it is not known if the risks affect boys and girls equally.

What this Raine study adds:

  • Height, weight and body fat data from Raine participants from birth to 17 years of age, together with blood pressure and blood tests at 17 years of age revealed that 16% of boys and 19% of girls were classified as having a high risk of developing metabolic disease.
  • Girls at high risk of metabolic disease were heavier from birth and consistently had more body fat throughout childhood. Birth weight was not associated with metabolic risk in boys.
  • Understanding the risk factors predisposing children to cardiovascular and metabolic disease and how they differ between boys and girls will provide better opportunities for targeted health interventions aimed at preventing disease in later life.

Huang, Rae-Chi, Trevor A Mori, Sally Burrows, Chi Le Ha, Wendy H Oddy, Carly Herbison, Beth H Hands, and Lawrence J Beilin. 2012. “Sex Dimorphism in the Relation between Early Adiposity and Cardiometabolic Risk in Adolescents.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 97 (6) (June): E1014-22. doi:10.1210/jc.2011-3007. [publink]

No single body measurement can predict risk of cardiovascular disease in adolescents

Keywords: adolescent, cardiovascular disease, obesity, risk factors, gender differences, anthropometry

What is already known about this subject:

  • Cardiovascular disease risk can begin during childhood, and risk factors often persist from childhood through to adulthood.
  • The ability to identify children at risk of cardiovascular disease in later life relies on the identification of simple measures that can reliably predict this risk.
  • Body measurements have been shown to be useful in predicting cardiovascular disease risk in adults, however this is difficult in children due to individual differences in growth and maturation. It is not clear if there are simple body measurements that can consistently or reliably predict cardiovascular disease in children or adolescents.

What this Raine study adds:

  • Body measurements collected from Raine participants at 14 years of age, including height, weight, waist, hip and arm circumference, together with blood pressure and data from blood samples showed that there was not one single body measurement that best predicted cardiovascular risk in adolescents.
  • Different body measurements predicted different aspects of disease risk, and these relationships were different between boys and girls.
  • Height, weight, waist circumference and stage of puberty are all relevant in assessing the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease in adolescents and no single measure should be relied upon to do so.

Huang, Rae-Chi, Nicholas de Klerk, Trevor A Mori, John P Newnham, Fiona J Stanley, Louis I Landau, Wendy H Oddy, Beth Hands, and Lawrence J Beilin. 2011. “Differential Relationships between Anthropometry Measures and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Boys and Girls.” International Journal of Pediatric Obesity 6 (2-2) (June): e271-82. doi:10.3109/17477166.2010.512388. [publink]

Childhood growth patterns are associated with adolescent insulin resistance.

Keywords: adiposity, adolescent, birth weight, child, insulin resistance, weight gain

What is already known about this subject:

  • Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body makes insulin but isn’t able to use it effectively, resulting in a build up of glucose in the blood. Individuals with insulin resistance have a high risk of developing diabetes, but lifestyle changes can prevent this from happening.
  • Insulin resistance commonly occurs in people who are obese and is often associated with excess abdominal fat.
  • Birth weight has been shown to be a predictor of chronic disease in adulthood, but it is not clear how growth patterns throughout childhood affect this risk.

What this Raine study adds:

  • Patterns of growth and adiposity (fatness) in Raine participants from birth to 14 years of age were assessed in relation to measures of insulin resistance from blood samples collected at 14 years of age. The greatest insulin resistance in adolescents was seen in those with consistently increasing adiposity, regardless of their birth weight, and in children with high birth weight who remained heavy throughout childhood (‘sustained high adiposity’).
  • Children in the ‘sustained high adiposity’ group were also more likely to have mothers who gained more weight during pregnancy or who had gestational diabetes.
  • Excessive weight gain in early childhood and maternal obesity and excessive weight gain during pregnancy are important targets for the prevention of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

Huang, Rae-Chi, Nicholas H de Klerk, Anne Smith, Garth E Kendall, Louis I Landau, Trevor A Mori, John P Newnham, et al. 2011. “Lifecourse Childhood Adiposity Trajectories Associated with Adolescent Insulin Resistance.” Diabetes Care 34 (4) (April): 1019-25. doi:10.2337/dc10-1809. [publink]

Increased risk of metabolic disease in adolescent girls with polycystic ovary syndrome

Keywords: adolescent, metabolic syndrome, overweight, polycystic ovary syndrome, risk factors

What is already known about this subject:

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome is the most common hormonal disorder in women of reproductive age. As well as being a leading cause of infertility, polycystic ovary syndrome is associated with metabolic disturbances that can lead to poor health.
  • Obesity is one of the main symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome. Obesity also makes the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome worse, as fat stored around the stomach and waist is metabolically active and contributes to the existing metabolic disturbances.
  • Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of features related to cardiovascular disease, including obesity and increased blood pressure. Having polycystic ovary syndrome may predispose suffers to metabolic syndrome and long-term health problems. It is not known which features of polycystic ovary syndrome are the most important risk factors for metabolic syndrome.

What this Raine study adds:

  • Data from female Raine participants at 14 to 17 years of age (including height, weight, waist circumference, blood tests, metabolic tests, blood pressure and menstrual data) showed that one third of girls with polycystic ovary syndrome are also at risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
  • Overweight girls with polycystic ovary syndrome are at even greater risk of metabolic syndrome.
  • Medical or lifestyle interventions in overweight girls with polycystic ovary syndrome may help to protect their long-term health.

Hart, R., Doherty, D. A, Mori, T., Huang, R.-C., Norman, R. J., Franks, S., Sloboda, D., Beilin, L.,  Hickey, M. (2011). Extent of metabolic risk in adolescent girls with features of polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertility and Sterility, 95(7), 2347-53, 2353.e1. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2011.03.001. [publink]

Nine genetic variants associated with fasting blood sugar levels in adults are also associated with glucose levels in healthy children and adolescents

Keywords: child, adolescent, blood glucose, genetics, association study

What is already known about this subject:

  • High fasting blood glucose levels are used to diagnose type 2 diabetes. In a person without diabetes, fasting blood glucose levels that are higher than normal can predict future diabetes and are associated with cardiovascular disease.
  • Fasting blood glucose levels are influenced by a person’s genetic makeup and their environment. To date, a total of 16 genetic variants have been identified to be associated with fasting glucose levels in healthy adults.
  • Fasting blood glucose levels are relatively stable over time in healthy adults. It is not known whether the genetic contribution to blood glucose levels is established in early life and evident in childhood.

What this Raine study adds:

  • 16 genetic variants known to affect fasting blood glucose levels in adults were tested for association with fasting blood glucose levels in children. The analysis included over 6000 boys and girls aged 9-16 years from 6 international studies, including genetic and glucose data from blood samples provided by Raine participants at 14 years of age.
  • Nine genetic variants were found to be associated with the control of blood glucose levels in healthy children and adolescents. This included five new genetic variants and confirmed four that had been previously reported.
  • The effect sizes of these variants were similar in children/adolescents and in adults, suggesting that genetic determinants of adult blood glucose levels begin to have an effect early in life and the effect persists throughout the life course.
  • Understanding how blood glucose levels are controlled will help in the identification of those individuals who are at risk for higher fasting glucose, type 2 diabetes and potentially also the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Barker, Adam, Stephen J Sharp, Nicholas J Timpson, Nabila Bouatia-Naji, Nicole M Warrington, Stavroula Kanoni, Lawrence J Beilin, et al. 2011. “Association of Genetic Loci with Glucose Levels in Childhood and Adolescence: A Meta-Analysis of over 6,000 Children.” Diabetes 60 (6) (June): 1805-12. doi:10.2337/db10-1575. [publink]

Diet influences risk of cardiovascular disease in adolescents

Keywords: adolescent, cardiovascular disease, diet, metabolic syndrome, risk factors

What is already known about this subject:

  • Cardiovascular disease has its origins in childhood, and risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as obesity are increasingly common among children and adolescents.
  • The clustering of multiple cardiovascular risk factors in an individual is known as ‘metabolic syndrome.’ Children who are overweight or obese have the highest risk of metabolic syndrome.
  • Diet is an important determinant of a person’s health, but it is not known how specific dietary patterns in childhood and adolescence influence an individual’s risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

What this Raine study adds:

  • Dietary assessment, in combination with physical assessments (height, weight and waist circumference), blood pressure and blood samples in Raine participants at 14 years of age revealed that a ‘Western’ dietary pattern (high in sugar, fat and processed foods) was associated with a greater risk for metabolic syndrome in adolescent girls.
  • A ‘healthy’ dietary pattern (low in fat and refined sugar, high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains) was associated with lower blood sugar in both boys and girls, and with higher ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL) in boys.
  • Dietary patterns are associated with metabolic syndrome and risk of cardiovascular disease during adolescence. Maintaining a healthy diet is a useful way to prevent chronic disease later in life.

Ambrosini, G L, R-C Huang, T A Mori, B P Hands, T A O’Sullivan, N H de Klerk, L J Beilin, and W H Oddy. 2010. “Dietary Patterns and Markers for the Metabolic Syndrome in Australian Adolescents.” Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases 20 (4) (May): 274-83. doi:10.1016/j.numecd.2009.03.024. [publink]

Inflammation in adolescents at high risk of metabolic disease is caused by a combination of overweight and metabolic abnormalities

Keywords: adolescent, metabolism, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, metabolic disease, overweight, risk factors

What is already known about this subject:

  • The prevalence of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of abnormalities in a person’s metabolism that act together to increase their risk of cardiovascular disease, has increased alongside increases in childhood obesity.
  • Inflammation is associated with cardiovascular disease, and is often observed in people with metabolic syndrome. It is not known whether increased inflammation is a cause or effect of metabolic syndrome.

What this Raine study adds:

  • Data from Raine participants at 14 years of age (including height, weight, blood pressure and blood test data) revealed that 29% adolescents had early features of metabolic syndrome and were classified as being at ‘high risk’ of cardiovascular disease.
  • Increased inflammation was only seen in adolescents in the ‘high risk’ group who were also overweight.
  • Metabolic syndrome and overweight together increase the risk of inflammation, which in turn increases the risk of ill health, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and liver disease. These may be useful targets for preventative health interventions.

Huang, Rae-Chi, Trevor A Mori, Valerie Burke, John Newnham, Fiona J Stanley, Louis I Landau, Garth E Kendall, Wendy H Oddy, and Lawrence J Beilin. 2009. “Synergy between Adiposity, Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Risk Factors, and Inflammation in Adolescents.” Diabetes Care 32 (4) (April): 695-701. doi:10.2337/dc08-1917. [publink]