Cardiovascular risk factors in Portuguese obese children and adolescents: impact of small reductions in body mass index imposed by lifestyle modifications

Henrique Nascimento, Elísio Costa, Petronila Rocha-Pereira, Carla Rego, Helena Ferreira Mansilha, Alexandre Quintanilha, Alice Santos-Silva, Luís Belo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Evaluate cardiovascular risk factors in Portuguese obese children and adolescents and the long-term effects of lifestyle modifications on such risk factors. Design: Transversal cohort study and longitudinal study. Setting: University Hospital S. João and Children's Hospital Maria Pia, Porto. Patients/Participants: 148 obese children and adolescents [81 females (54.7%); mean age of 11.0 years]and 33 controls (sex and age matched) participated in a cross-sectional study. Sixty obese patients agreed to participate in an one year longitudinal study after medical and nutritionist appointments to improve lifestyle modification; a substantial body mass index (BMI) reduction was defined by a decrease in BMI z-score (BMI z-sc) of 0.3 or more over the studied period. Main Outcome measures: Lipid profile (triglycerides, cholesterol, HDLc, LDLc, lipoprotein (a), apolipoproteins A and B) and circulating levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), adiponectin, glucose, and insulin. Results: Compared with the lean children, obese patients demonstrated statistically significantly higher insulin resistance index [Homeostasis model assessment (HOMA)], and triglycerides, LDLc, apolipoprotein (apo) B, insulin and CRP concentrations, whereas their HDLc and apo A levels were significantly lower (cross-sectional study). In the longitudinal study (n=60), a substantial BMI reduction occurred in 17 (28.3%) obese patients which led to a significant reduction in triglycerides, cholesterol, LDLc, apo B, glucose and insulin levels and in HOMA. The ΔBMI values over the studied period correlated inversely and significantly with BMI (P<0.001) and HOMA (P=0.026) values observed at baseline. In multiple linear regression analysis, BMI at baseline remained associated to changes in BMI over the studied period (standardised Beta: -0.271, P=0.05). Conclusion: Our data demonstrates that small reductions in BMI-zc, imposed by lifestyle modifications in obese children and adolescents, improve the cardiovascular risk profile of such patients. Furthermore, patients with higher BMI and/or insulin resistance seem to experience a greater relative reduction in their BMI after lifestyle improvements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-50
Number of pages8
JournalOpen Biochemistry Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Childhood obesity
  • Inflammation
  • Insulin resistance
  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Lipid profile


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