Vascular health in children and adolescents: Effects of obesity and diabetes

Kevin R. Short, Piers R. Blackett, Andrew W. Gardner, Kenneth C. Copeland

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


The foundations for cardiovascular disease in adults are laid in childhood and accelerated by the presence of comorbid conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia. Early detection of vascular dysfunction is an important clinical objective to identify those at risk for subsequent cardiovascular morbidity and events, and to initiate behavioral and medical interventions to reduce risk. Typically, cardiovascular screening is recommended for young adults, especially in people with a family history of cardiovascular conditions. Children and adolescents were once considered to be at low risk, but with the growing health concerns related to sedentary lifestyle, poor diet and obesity, cardiovascular screening may be needed earlier so that interventions to improve cardiovascular health can be initiated. This review describes comorbid conditions that increase cardiovascular risk in youth, namely obesity and diabetes, and describes noninvasive methods to objectively detect vascular disease and quantify vascular function and structure through measurements of endothelial function, arterial compliance, and intima-media thickness. Additionally, current strategies directed toward prevention of vascular disease in these populations, including exercise, dietary interventions and pharmacological therapy are described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)973-990
Number of pages18
JournalVascular Health and Risk Management
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Hematology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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