Apple-Shaped Kids At Greater Risk For Heart Disease Than Pear-Shaped Peers

February 01, 1999

DALLAS, Feb. 2 -- Children with chubby tummies have more heart disease risk factors than their pear-shaped peers, according to a new study published in today's Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Earlier studies had indicated that compared to individuals who tend to put on weight in their hips and thighs, adults who gain weight around the mid-section -- known as the apple silhouette -- have higher blood pressure and lower levels of the "good" cholesterol known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

In this study of children and adolescents, greater upper body fat was associated with higher levels of the blood fat, triglycerides, and lower HDL cholesterol. In addition, systolic blood pressure -- the upper number of a blood pressure reading -- was highest in children with the most fat overall and in the apple-shaped kids. The mass of the left side of the heart, which does most of the pumping, was larger for children with pudgy midsections.

"Where fat is distributed appears to be a more important influence on cardiovascular risk factors in young people than total fatness," says Stephen R. Daniels, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and environmental health at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, and lead author of the study. "You can already see this relationship in children as young as nine and even in kids who are not necessarily overweight at this stage."

Whether an individual's fat distribution can be changed from the apple pattern to the pear pattern is not known, but overall fitness definitely helps reduce cardiovascular risks, he says. Physicians should consider a person's fat distribution to determine how vigorously to treat risk factors, Daniels adds. The relationship between body shape and cardiovascular risk factors has not been extensively studied in young people, but a new way of measuring fat distribution made such a study feasible.

The technique, called dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), has been used extensively to check bone mineral density for osteoporosis. It can also determine body fat distribution more accurately than many of the indirect measuring methods previously used. DEXA uses low-level X-rays to penetrate the body. The degree of that penetration is used to measure tissue density -- whether of bones, as in osteoporosis, or fat, he explains. The technique uses less radiation than a dental X-ray, "roughly equivalent to the background amount a person would be exposed to by flying from Cincinnati to the West Coast." The researchers studied 127 boys and girls between nine and 17 years of age. They were recruited from local schools and included 68 males and 59 females; 72 were white and 55 were black.

In addition to DEXA, the tests for blood pressure and levels of blood fats, which included total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides were administered. Each person underwent an ultrasound procedure called an echocardiogram to determine the size and thickness of the left ventricular region of his or her heart.

The greater the left ventricular mass, the greater the risk of heart disease, Daniels says. In part, that is because this region tends to thicken when high blood pressure makes the heart work harder to pump blood. But there are also risks associated with increased left ventricular mass that are independent of blood pressure for reasons that are not entirely clear," he adds.
-end-
Media advisory: Dr. Daniels can be reached by phone at 513-636-8265; by fax at 513-636-3952; or by e-mail at sdaniels@chmcc.org. (Please do not publish numbers.)

For journal copies only, please call: 214-706-1173
For other information, call: Carole Bullock: 214-706-1279



American Heart Association

Related Heart Disease Articles from Brightsurf:

Cellular pathway of genetic heart disease similar to neurodegenerative disease
Research on a genetic heart disease has uncovered a new and unexpected mechanism for heart failure.

Mechanism linking gum disease to heart disease, other inflammatory conditions discovered
The link between periodontal (gum) disease and other inflammatory conditions such as heart disease and diabetes has long been established, but the mechanism behind that association has, until now, remained a mystery.

New 'atlas' of human heart cells first step toward precision treatments for heart disease
Scientists have for the first time documented all of the different cell types and genes expressed in the healthy human heart, in research published in the journal Nature.

With a heavy heart: How men and women develop heart disease differently
A new study by researchers from McGill University has uncovered that minerals causing aortic heart valve blockage in men and women are different, a discovery that could change how heart disease is diagnosed and treated.

Heart-healthy diets are naturally low in dietary cholesterol and can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke
Eating a heart-healthy dietary pattern rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, vegetable oils and nuts, which is also limits salt, red and processed meats, refined-carbohydrates and added sugars, is relatively low in dietary cholesterol and supports healthy levels of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol.

Pacemakers can improve heart function in patients with chemotherapy-induced heart disease
Research has shown that treating chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy with commercially available cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) delivered through a surgically implanted defibrillator or pacemaker can significantly improve patient outcomes.

Arsenic in drinking water may change heart structure raising risk of heart disease
Drinking water that is contaminated with arsenic may lead to thickening of the heart's main pumping chamber in young adults, according to a new study by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

New health calculator can help predict heart disease risk, estimate heart age
A new online health calculator can help people determine their risk of heart disease, as well as their heart age, accounting for sociodemographic factors such as ethnicity, sense of belonging and education, as well as health status and lifestyle behaviors.

Wide variation in rate of death between VA hospitals for patients with heart disease, heart failure
Death rates for veterans with ischemic heart disease and chronic heart failure varied widely across the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system from 2010 to 2014, which could suggest differences in the quality of cardiovascular health care provided by VA medical centers.

Heart failure: The Alzheimer's disease of the heart?
Similar to how protein clumps build up in the brain in people with some neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, protein clumps appear to accumulate in the diseased hearts of mice and people with heart failure, according to a team led by Johns Hopkins University researchers.

Read More: Heart Disease News and Heart Disease Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.