Kids who have a high body mass index (BMI) between 9 and 12 years of age are more likely to have high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood insulin levels (all risk factors for developing heart disease) by the time they reach adolescence, a new study found.
A total of 5,235 children took part in the study, led by Professor Debbie Lawlor from the University of Bristol.
The children were part of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), which has tracked the health of more than 14,000 children since birth.
The researchers assessed the children's BMI, waist circumference, and fat mass between the ages of 9 to 12.
When the children reached adolescence (15 -16 years of age) their blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and insulin levels were tested. Positive results in these tests are risk factors for heart disease.
The results showed that a high BMI at age 9-12 was associated with adverse heart disease risk factors at age 15-16, even when the analysis was adjusted for a wide range of other factors.
Interestingly, waist circumference or fast mass measurements were not linked with adolescent heart disease risk factors any more strongly than BMI.
The study has been published on bmj.com.