Irish Medical Organisation

Children as young as 10 years old show evidence of Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors - IMJ Study

Irish Medical Journal Press Release       

January 2013 Volume 106 Number 1

Official Journal of the Irish Medical Organisation

Children as young as 10 years old show evidence of Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors

A study published in the January edition of the Irish Medical Journal into the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD), reveals that children as young as 10 years old show evidence of these risk factors.  The research carried out by Dr Emma Kilbride et al, examined a group of primary school children aged 10-12 years from an urban background.

The results of the research showed that over a quarter of the group, 28% were considered overweight/obese, using the values set out by the International Obesity Task force 16% of boys were considered overweight and a further 6% obese, while the values for girls were 31% overweight and 4% obese. According to the National Task Force on Obesity, excess body weight is now the most prevalent childhood disease in Europe, affecting one in six children

Physical inactivity, poor physical fitness, fat intake, blood pressure (BP) and an adverse lipid profile are all risk factors. The authors also point out “Examining the relationship between these lifestyle parameters and CVD risk factors in children is vital to determine if lifestyle modifications during childhood and adolescence could lower CVD risk”. The authors stress that, “Currently there is a lack of national reference values for children for these important health indicators. By identifying those at risk, appropriate lifestyle modifications can be made in an attempt to reduce their risk of developing CVD in later life.” High aerobic fitness during childhood and adolescence has been associated with a healthier cardiovascular profile not only during these years but also later in life.

Dr Greally said that, “Fewer girls reported spending less than 1 hour a day doing physical activity compared to boys.  Six children had elevated cholesterol levels and five children had higher than normal blood pressure values.” The authors suggest that the, the low level of physical activity in girls provides a target for health promotion programmes.

Of particular significance in the research carried out was the greater risk of clustering of the risk factors in children exercising for less than 30 minutes per day. As CVD risk factors are known to track into adulthood, the data provided in the study supports the promotion of preventative programs aimed at children, in particular targeting young girls where currently participation in regular physical activity is low.

All references and author names are contained in the full article in this month’s IMJ, p.6

Title: “Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in

Urban School Children p.6


For further information contact:

Communications Unit,

Irish Medical Organisation,

10 Fitzwilliam Place,

Dublin 2.

Tel. 01 676 7273


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