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Abdominal adiposity may have negative effects on cardiometabolic risk factors in youths

22 Nov 2019

Abdominal fats appear to cause adverse effects on plasma triglycerides and other cardiometabolic risk factors starting in childhood, suggests a recent study.

A genetic risk score (GRS) was constructed using variants previously associated with waist-to-hip ratio adjusted for body mass index (WHRadjBMI). The authors examined the associations of GRS with cardiometabolic factors using linear regression and Mendelian randomization in a meta-analysis of six cohorts, including 9,895 European children and adolescents aged 3–17 years.

WHRadjBMI GRS correlated with higher WHRadjBMI (β, 0.021 SD/allele, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.016–0.026; p=3x10-15) and with unfavourable concentrations of blood lipids (higher low-density lipoprotein cholesterol: β, 0.006 SD/allele, 95 percent CI, 0.001–0.011; p=0.025; lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol: β, –0.007 SD/allele, 95 percent CI, –0.012 to –0.002; p=0.009; higher triglycerides: β, 0.007 SD/allele, 95 percent CI, 0.002–0.012; p=0.006).

There were no differences observed between prepubertal and pubertal/postpubertal children.

WHRadjBMI GRS showed a more robust association with fasting in overweight/obese children and adolescents than in those with normal weight (β, –0.002 SD/allele, 95 percent CI, –0.010 to 0.006; p=0.605; p-difference=0.034).

Two-stage least-squares regression analysis revealed a 0.15-mmol/L (0.35 SD; p=0.040) increase in circulating triglycerides for every genetically instructed 1-SD increase in WHRadjBMI, which suggests that the relation between abdominal adiposity and circulating triglycerides may be causal.

“The results highlight the importance of early weight management through healthy dietary habits and physically active lifestyle among children with a tendency for abdominal adiposity,” the authors said.

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