Overweight in children is associated with arterial endothelial dysfunction and intima-media thickening

K. S. Woo (Corresponding Author), P. Chook, C. W. Yu, R. Y.T. Sung, M. Qiao, S. S.F. Leung, C. W.K. Lam, C. Metreweli, D. S. Celermajer

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

265 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: We sought to study arterial endothelial function and carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), both early markers of atherosclerosis, in overweight compared to normal children. DESIGN: Case-control comparison. SUBJECTS: A total of 36 asymptomatic overweight children (body mass index (BMI) > 23; mean 25 ± 3) aged 9-12 y and 36 age- and gender-matched nonobese healthy children (BMI < 21) from a school community. MEASUREMENTS: The key parameters were: BMI, arterial endothelial function (ultrasound-derived endothelium-dependent dilation) and carotid artery IMT. The secondary parameters measured included body fat content, waist-hip ratio (WHR), blood pressures, blood lipids, insulin and glucose. RESULTS: The two groups were well matched for blood pressures, cholesterol and glucose levels, but BMI (P<0.0001), body fat (P = 0.001), WHR (P < 0.05), fasting blood insulin (P = 0.001) and triglyceride levels (P < 0.05) were higher in obese children. Overweight was associated with impaired arterial endothelial function (6.6 ± 2.3 vs 9.7 ± 3.0%, P < 0.0001) and increased carotid IMT (0.49 ± 0.04 mm vs 0.45 ± 0.04 mm, P = 0.006). The degree of endothelial dysfunction correlated with BMI (P < 0.003) on multivariate analysis. CONCLUSION: Obesity, even of mild-to-moderate degree, is independently associated with abnormal arterial function and structure in otherwise healthy young children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)852-857
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Body mass index
  • Carotid intima-media thickening
  • Endothelium
  • Overweight in children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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