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December 1993

Evidence of a Major Gene With Pleiotropic Action for a Cardiovascular Disease Risk Syndrome in Children Younger Than 14 Years

Author Affiliations

From the Obesity Research Center, St Luke's/Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY.

Am J Dis Child. 1993;147(12):1298-1302. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1993.02160360040014

• Objective.  —To test the plausibility of the existence of a genetically based syndrome involving obesity, hypertension, and a central deposition of body fat.

Design.  —Survey of a random stratified sample of the US population.

Participants.  —Male and female children aged 13 years or younger (mean, 5.3 years; SD, 3.7 years; median, 4.0 years; range, 6 months to 13 years) were chosen from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey II data.

Interventions.  —None.

Measurements/Main Results.  —Using multivariate commingling analysis, we evaluated the hypothesis that a major gene produces a syndrome involving the phenotypic indicators of body mass index (in kilograms per square meter), subscapular-to-triceps skinfold thickness ratio, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure. Maximum likelihood estimation was used to test competing models. A model with three component distributions and unequal variance-covariance matrices fit significantly better than any competing model.

Conclusions.  —Our findings support the existence of a distinct cardiovascular disease risk syndrome in children and suggest that it may be the result of a major gene with pleiotropic effects.(AJDC. 1993;147:1298-1302)

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