Objective: The aim of the study was to evaluate carotid arterial stiffness and intima media thickness (IMT) in obese children in comparison with healthy children, and to examine associations of lipid profile and blood pressure with carotid artery morphology.
Methods: Anthropometric and blood parameters were assessed in 44 overweight, 95 obese (6-17 years) and 69 healthy age-matched normal children. Percent body fat was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and stiffness and IMT of the common carotid artery were evaluated using Aloka alpha 10 equipment.
Results: Anthropometric and lipid parameters were significantly higher in overweight and obese than in normal children (p < 0.05). Stiffness (beta), pulse wave velocity (PWV), elastic modulus (Ep) and blood pressure were significantly higher in obese and overweight children than in normal children (p < 0.05). However, overweight and obese children did not show any significant difference in IMT compared with normal children (p > 0.1). Significant positive correlation of PWV, beta and Ep and negative correlation of arterial compliance with body fat and triglyceride was noted (p < 0.05). Different multinomial regression models for each e-Tracking parameter indicated that the relative risk of hypertension was highest with high PWV, followed by LDL cholesterol, Ep and body fat.
Conclusion: PWV may be considered an important marker for evaluation of early functional changes of the carotid artery in children and adolescents.