Aim: The aim of this study, the YOung TAiwanese Cohort (YOTA) Study, was to investigate the relationship between a childhood overweight/obese status and young adult preclinical atherosclerosis, including assessments of the carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) and prehypertension or hypertension.
Methods: From among children who participated in the 1992-2000 mass urine screening program in Taiwan, we recruited 303 subjects with an elevated blood pressure (EBP) and 486 subjects with a normal BP in childhood during the period of 2006-2008. These 789 young adults received health check-ups for cardiovascular health, including examinations of blood and urine parameters, anthropometrics, BP and the CIMT, a subclinical cardiovascular risk index. Data analyses were used to evaluate the associated risks in both childhood and young adulthood.
Results: The school students with a childhood overweight/obese status had a higher risk of prehypertension or hypertension, with a relative risk of 3.20 (1.40-7.33) for being overweight and 6.51 (3.3612.63) for being obese in young adulthood at an average age of 21. A childhood overweight/obese status also predicted a higher risk of having a thicker CIMT, with a relative risk of 2.82 (1.26-6.28) and 4.17 (2.21-7.85) for being overweight and obese in adulthood, respectively, after a mean follow-up of 8.5 years. The body mass index exhibited a consistent trend from childhood to adulthood, with an adjusted R square of 0.551. The participants who were not overweight/obese in childhood also demonstrated a higher risk of prehypertension or hypertension if they became overweight or obese in adulthood.
Conclusions: This study highlights the importance of preventing and treating an overweight or obese status in childhood for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in adulthood.
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