Cardiovascular Regulation Profile Predicts Developmental Trajectory of BMI and Pediatric Obesity

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Susan D. Calkins, Professor (Creator)
Susan P. Keane, Professor (Creator)
Marion O'Brien, Professor, Director of Family Research Center and Associate Dean for Research (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: The present study examined the role of cardiovascular regulation in predicting pediatric obesity. Participants for this study included 268 children (141 girls) obtained from a larger ongoing longitudinal study. To assess cardiac vagal regulation, resting measures of respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) and RSA change (vagal withdrawal) to three cognitively challenging tasks were derived when children were 5.5 years of age. Heart period (HP) and HP change (heart rate (HR) acceleration) were also examined. Height and weight measures were collected when children were 5.5, 7.5, and 10.5 years of age. Results indicated that physiological regulation at age 5.5 was predictive of both normal variations in BMI development and pediatric obesity at age 10.5. Specifically, children with a cardiovascular regulation profile characterized by lower levels of RSA suppression and HP change experienced significantly greater levels of BMI growth and were more likely to be classified as overweight/at-risk for overweight at age 10.5 compared to children with a cardiovascular regulation profile characterized by high levels of RSA suppression and HP change. However, a significant interaction with racial status was found suggesting that the association between cardiovascular regulation profile and BMI growth and pediatric obesity was only significant for African-American children. An autonomic cardiovascular regulation profile consisting of low parasympathetic activity represents a significant individual risk factor for the development of pediatric obesity, but only for African-American children. Mechanisms by which early physiological regulation difficulties may contribute to the development of pediatric obesity are discussed.

Additional Information

Obesity, 19, 1818-1825
Language: English
Date: 2011
body mass index, cardiovascular system, pediatric obesity, heart period

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