Early cardiac abnormalities in obese children and their relationship with adiposity

Nutrition. 2018 Feb;46:83-89. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2017.09.001. Epub 2017 Sep 21.


Objectives: Childhood obesity rates are increasing as well as chronic disease and cardiovascular risk factors for patients at young ages. In this study, we evaluate the correlation between cardiac parameters, body mass index (BMI), and other body composition indicators in children and adolescents.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we evaluated anthropometric measurements, bioelectrical impedance parameters, and echocardiographic measurements including the left ventricular mass (LVM), LVM index (LVMI), and left atrial diameter (LAD) in children and adolescents ages 7 to 15 y. We performed linear and multivariate regression analyses and analyzed the correlations between cardiac parameters, BMI, and other body composition parameters.

Results: We analyzed 96 children and adolescents and found 40.6% to be obese and 29.2% overweight. LVMI and LAD indexed to height were significantly higher in individuals who were obese. LVMI increased significantly with increasing BMI (r = 0.717; P < 0.001), waist circumference (r = 0.670; P < 0.001), waist-to-height ratio (r = 0.650; P < 0.001), and body surface (r = 0.570; P < 0.001). Only BMI was significant in the multivariate analysis. LVMI was directly and positively correlated with fat mass (FM) and percentage of visceral and abdominal FM and negatively correlated with percentage of lean body mass. LAD was significantly correlated with body surface (r = 0.728; P < 0.001), BMI (r = 0.611; P < 0.001), waist circumference (r = 0.614; P < 0.001), and waist-to-height ratio (r = 0.341; P < 0.01). When indexed to height, LAD was only correlated with BMI and waist-to-height ratio.

Conclusions: Obesity is associated with cardiac disturbances at a very early age and these changes are closely related to the degree of adiposity. Cardiac structural parameters are significantly correlated with BMI and waist circumference in pediatric patients ages 7 to 15 y.

Keywords: Body composition; Body mass index; Cardiac structural alterations; Childhood obesity; Left ventricular mass; Waist circumference.

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity
  • Adolescent
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Echocardiography
  • Electric Impedance
  • Female
  • Heart Atria / pathology
  • Heart Diseases / complications*
  • Heart Diseases / epidemiology
  • Heart Ventricles / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Overweight / complications
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Overweight / pathology
  • Pediatric Obesity / complications*
  • Pediatric Obesity / epidemiology
  • Pediatric Obesity / pathology
  • Waist Circumference
  • Waist-Height Ratio