Coronary heart disease risk factors in children and adolescents

J. A. Bass, T. A. Moore, K. J. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While clinical coronary disease does not appear until adulthood, behavioral and physiological risk factors can be found in childhood. This study examined total blood cholesterol, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, obesity, diet, and physical activity patterns in 316 Boy and Girl Scouts, 11.2 ± 2.7 years old. Mean total cholesterol was 170.1 ± 29.5 mg/dL; systolic and diastolic blood pressure were 107.6 ± 13.3 and 66.4 ± 11.0 mm Hg, and body mass index (BMI) was 20.6 ± 5.6. Many children failed to meet National Cholesterol Education Program dietary guidelines: 50% exceeded the 30% total daily energy (TDE) level for total fat and 10% TDE for saturated fat; 50% fell below the recommended 10%-15% TDE level for monounsaturated fat; almost no children reached the recommended 10% level for polyunsaturated fat; and 10% of children exceeded 322.9 mg daily of dietary cholesterol. These children also did poorly against the Food Guide Pyramid by consuming too few fruits and vegetables and too many fats, sweets, milk products, and meats. About 50% of children reported either no or only low intensity physical activity. Regression analysis showed that indices of obesity were the strongest correlates of blood cholesterol and blood pressure. Thus, many young children have risk factor profiles that may put them at increased risk for adult heart disease. These data emphasize the need for encouraging healthy nutrition and physical activity patterns and preventing and treating obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-12+22
JournalPreventive cardiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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