An inflammatory component of heart disease may be present early in life, say researchers. A new study shows a significant link between body mass index and C-reactive protein levels in children. CRP has emerged as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in adults.
Researchers analyzed data collected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which included 1,479 boys and 1,367 girls, ages 3 to 17. Earl S. Ford, M.D., M.P.H., from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, says while body mass index was the best predictor of CRP concentrations in both boys and girls, it was not the only association identified in his analysis. CRP was higher in older boys, which suggests an association with age. He also found systolic blood pressure increased as CRP increased for girls ages 12 to 17.
Body mass index is a measure of overall body fatness. One out of every five children in the United States is overweight, and this number continues to grow. Besides heart disease, overweight children are at risk for several health conditions including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, bone problems, and skin conditions such as heat rash, fungal infections and acne.