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1.  Utility of waist-to-height ratio in assessing the status of central obesity and related cardiometabolic risk profile among normal weight and overweight/obese children: The Bogalusa Heart Study 
BMC Pediatrics  2010;10:73.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is widely used to assess the impact of obesity on cardiometabolic risk in children but it does not always relate to central obesity and varies with growth and maturation. Waist-to-Height Ratio (WHtR) is a relatively constant anthropometric index of abdominal obesity across different age, sex or racial groups. However, information is scant on the utility of WHtR in assessing the status of abdominal obesity and related cardiometabolic risk profile among normal weight and overweight/obese children, categorized according to the accepted BMI threshold values.
Cross-sectional cardiometabolic risk factor variables on 3091 black and white children (56% white, 50% male), 4-18 years of age were used. Based on the age-, race- and sex-specific percentiles of BMI, the children were classified as normal weight (5th - 85th percentiles) and overweight/obese (≥ 85th percentile). The risk profiles of each group based on the WHtR (<0.5, no central obesity versus ≥ 0.5, central obesity) were compared.
9.2% of the children in the normal weight group were centrally obese (WHtR ≥0.5) and 19.8% among the overweight/obese were not (WHtR < 0.5). On multivariate analysis the normal weight centrally obese children were 1.66, 2.01, 1.47 and 2.05 times more likely to have significant adverse levels of LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin, respectively. In addition to having a higher prevalence of parental history of type 2 diabetes mellitus, the normal weight central obesity group showed a significantly higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome (p < 0.0001). In the overweight/obese group, those without central obesity were 0.53 and 0.27 times less likely to have significant adverse levels of HDL cholesterol and HOMA-IR, respectively (p < 0.05), as compared to those with central obesity. These overweight/obese children without central obesity also showed significantly lower prevalence of parental history of hypertension (p = 0.002), type 2 diabetes mellitus (p = 0.03) and metabolic syndrome (p < 0.0001).
WHtR not only detects central obesity and related adverse cardiometabolic risk among normal weight children, but also identifies those without such conditions among the overweight/obese children, which has implications for pediatric primary care practice.
PMCID: PMC2964659  PMID: 20937123
2.  Low birth weight and longitudinal trends of cardiovascular risk factor variables from childhood to adolescence: the bogalusa heart study 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:22.
Several studies have linked low birth weight to adverse levels of cardiovascular risk factors and related diseases. However, information is sparse at a community level in the U.S. general population regarding the effects of low birth weight on the longitudinal trends in cardiovascular risk factor variables measured concurrently from childhood to adolescence.
Longitudinal analysis was performed retrospectively on data collected from the Bogalusa Heart Study cohort (n = 1141; 57% white, 43% black) followed from childhood to adolescence by repeated surveys between 1973 and 1996. Subjects were categorized into low birth weight (below the race-specific 10th percentile; n = 123) and control (between race-specific 50–75th percentile; n = 296) groups.
Low birth weight group vs control group had lower mean HDL cholesterol (p = 0.05) and higher LDL cholesterol (p = 0.05) during childhood (ages 4–11 years); higher glucose (p = 0.02) during adolescence. Yearly rates of change from childhood to adolescence in systolic blood pressure (p = 0.02), LDL cholesterol (p = 0.05), and glucose (p = 0.07) were faster, and body mass index (p = 0.03) slower among the low birth weight group. In a multivariate analysis, low birth weight was related independently and adversely to longitudinal trends in systolic blood pressure (p = 0.004), triglycerides (p = 0.03), and glucose (p = 0.07), regardless of race or gender. These adverse associations became amplified with age.
Low birth weight is characterized by adverse developmental trends in metabolic and hemodynamic variables during childhood and adolescence; and thus, it may be an early risk factor in this regard.
PMCID: PMC534105  PMID: 15527498
3.  The relation of menarcheal age to obesity in childhood and adulthood: the Bogalusa heart study 
BMC Pediatrics  2003;3:3.
Several studies have shown that girls who undergo menarche at a relatively young age tend to be more obese as adults. However, because childhood (pre-menarcheal) levels of weight and height are associated with an earlier menarche, the increased prevalence of adult obesity among early maturers may largely reflect the persistence of childhood obesity into adulthood.
We examined these interrelationships among 1179 girls (65% white, 35% black) who were examined as children (mean age, 9 y), adolescents, and adults (mean age, 26 y) in the Bogalusa Heart Study.
Both white and black women who reported that they underwent menarche before age 12 y had, on average, higher adult levels of weight (+10 kg), body mass index (BMI, +4 kg/m2) and skinfold thicknesses (+6 mm) than did women who underwent menarche after age 13.5 y. However, relatively fat children tended to undergo menarche earlier than did thinner children, with each standard deviation increase in pre-menarcheal BMI increasing the odds of early menarche (<12 y) by approximately 2-fold. Stratified and regression analyses indicated that (1) adult obesity was more strongly associated with childhood obesity than with menarcheal age, and (2) about 60% to 75% of the apparent effect of menarcheal age was due to the influence of childhood obesity on both menarcheal age and adult obesity.
Although additional longitudinal studies are needed, it is likely that the importance of early menarche in adult obesity has been overestimated. Most of apparent influence of menarcheal age on adult obesity is attributable to the association of childhood obesity with both menarcheal age and adult obesity.
PMCID: PMC156622  PMID: 12723990
females; menarche; puberty; childhood; adult; longitudinal; obesity

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