Obesity in childhood remains a significant and prevalent public health concern. Excess adiposity in youth is a marker of increased cardiometabolic risk (CMR) in adolescents and adults. Several longitudinal studies confirm the strong association of pediatric obesity with the persistence of adult obesity and the future development of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and increased risk of death. The economic and social impact of childhood obesity is further exacerbated by the early onset of the chronic disease burden in young adults during their peak productivity years. Furthermore, rising prevalence rates of severe obesity in youth from disadvantaged and/or minority backgrounds have prompted the creation of additional classification schemes for severe obesity to improve CMR stratification. Current guidelines focus on primary obesity prevention efforts, as well as screening for clustering of multiple CMR factors to target interventions. This review summarizes the scope of the pediatric obesity epidemic, the new severe obesity classification scheme, and examines the association of excess adiposity with cardiovascular and metabolic risk. We will also discuss potential questions for future investigation.
Keywords: cardiovascular disease; insulin resistance; obesity; pediatric; type 2 diabetes.
© 2018 New York Academy of Sciences.