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Childhood body mass index and endothelial dysfunction evaluated by peripheral arterial tonometry in early midlife

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M J A Williams, B J Milne, A Ambler, R Theodore, S Ramrakha, A Caspi, T E Moffitt, R Poulton

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1355–1360
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number9
Early online date30 May 2017
Accepted/In press19 Apr 2017
E-pub ahead of print30 May 2017
PublishedSep 2017


King's Authors


Background/Objectives: Endothelial dysfunction predicts mortality but it is unknown whether childhood obesity predicts adult endothelial dysfunction. The aim of this study was to determine whether anthropometric indices of body fat in childhood, adolescence and early midlife are associated with endothelial dysfunction in early midlife. Subjects/Methods: Participants belonged to a representative birth cohort of 1037 individuals born in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1972 and 1973 and followed to age 38 years, with 95% retention (the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study). We assessed anthropometric indices of obesity at ages 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 18, 21, 26, 32 and 38 years. We tested associations between endothelial function assessed by peripheral arterial tonometry at age 38 and; age-38 cardiovascular risk factors; age-3 body mass index (BMI); and four BMI trajectory groups from childhood to early midlife. Results: Early midlife endothelial dysfunction was associated with BMI, large waist circumference, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low cardiorespiratory fitness, and increased high-sensitivity C-reactive protein. After adjustment for sex and childhood socioeconomic status, 3-year-olds with BMI one standard deviation above the mean had Framingham-reactive hyperemia index ratios that were 0.10 below those with normal BMI ( = -0.10, 95% CI -0.17 to -0.03, p=0.007) at age 38. Cohort members in the „overweight‟, „obese‟, and „morbidly obese‟ trajectories had Framingham-reactive hyperemia index ratios that were 0.08 ( = -0.08, 95% CI -0.14 to -0.03, p=0.003), 0.13 ( = -0.13, 95% CI -0.21 to -0.06, p<0.001), and 0.17 ( = -0.17, 95% CI -0.33 to -0.01, p=0.033), respectively, below age-peers in the „normal‟ trajectory. Conclusions: Childhood BMI and the trajectories of BMI from childhood to early midlife predict endothelial dysfunction evaluated by peripheral arterial tonometry in early midlife.

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