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September 1982

Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Children: Should They Concern the Pediatrician?

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine (Dr Berenson, Ms Frank, and Dr Srinivasan), Family Medicine (Dr Hunter), Public Health and Preventive Medicine (Dr Voors), and Biometry (Dr Webber) and the Specialized Center of Research—Arteriosclerosis, Louisiana State University Medical Center, New Orleans.

Am J Dis Child. 1982;136(9):855-862. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1982.03970450097024

• There is evidence that atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, and essential hypertension begin early in life. The Bogalusa (La) Heart Study has examined cardiovascular risk factors and their determinants during the pediatric age span in a total community study. Reliable measurements were obtained and then analyzed to identify "tracking" of risk factors over time and clusters or aggregations of various risk factors at high levels. Serum lipoprotein levels, obesity, BP, and plasma insulin levels were all correlated after a glucose load, implying causal interrelationships. Although such relationships are only partly elucidated, the associations potentially enhance premature atherosclerosis. Certain kinds of behavior, for example cigarette smoking and type A behavior, may also contribute to early coronary artery disease. Our observations suggest that practicing physicians should assess risk factors in children and encourage changes in life-style to combat the high incidence of coronary artery disease and essential hypertension in the United States.

(Am J Dis Child 1982;136:855-862)