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New Risk Factor for Heart Disease Identified in Very Young Children, According to Study at American Heart Association Scientific Sessions
Date:11/5/2007

Cincinnati Children's Researcher Says 'Body Mass Index (BMI) Rebound Age' Can Predict Heart Disease and Calls for Pediatricians To Begin Measuring

Children's BMI As Early as Age 3

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The results from the newest study in a continuum of research on childhood obesity as a risk factor for heart disease in later life provide another reason for pediatricians to begin measuring and monitoring body mass index (BMI) in children as young as 3 or 4 years old.

The study, presented today at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, found that the new risk factor -- called BMI rebound age -- indicates that the earlier in young childhood that kids reach their lowest BMI and then begin to gain body mass, the greater the chance of having adverse changes in known cardiovascular risk factors, which can show up as early as age 7.

The study was conducted by Thomas R. Kimball, M.D., a cardiologist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and funded by the National Institutes of Health. It is believed to be the first study to examine the relationship of BMI rebound and cardiovascular risk factors in children, and it's the latest in a series of studies conducted by Dr. Kimball and colleagues at Cincinnati Children's that have been presented at major scientific meetings over the past two years, all leading to one inescapable conclusion: Measuring BMI is just as important in children as it is in adults.

"Adults measure BMI when they're trying to figure out how to lose weight and reduce their heart disease risk," said Dr. Kimball. "With children, measuring BMI and taking action if it's too high can actually help prevent heart disease from developing. Our studies, which have focused on the impact of childhood obesity on children's hearts, make a powerful case that there is a clear link between obesity in childhood and heart disease in later life. We think it's now well established that
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SOURCE Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
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