What are the cardiovascular and endocrine complications associated with childhood and adolescent obesity?

Updated: Feb 20, 2019
  • Author: Steven M Schwarz, MD, FAAP, FACN, AGAF; Chief Editor: Jatinder Bhatia, MBBS, FAAP  more...
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Answer

Obesity during childhood and adolescence is associated with numerous cardiovascular risk factors, including hyperinsulinism and insulin resistance, hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia, reduced levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and hypertension. A hallmark of insulin resistance is acanthosis nigricans, the presence of which indicates an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Adolescent girls with obesity also demonstrate a hyperandrogenic profile, consisting of elevated serum concentrations of androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEA-S), and testosterone, as well as reduced levels of sex hormone–binding globulin. The clinical picture resembles that of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The excess androgens are of adrenal and ovarian origin and may be related, at least in part, to increased serum concentrations of insulin and insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-I).


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