Atherosclerosis leading to cardiovascular disease is now believed to begin early in life. Although it has been argued that physicians cannot yet adequately detect and manage the children at risk of cardiovascular disease, this is incongruent with the multiple epidemiologic studies of risk factors of cardiovascular disease that have recently been conducted. These data suggest the risk factors of cardiovascular disease can be identified in children and that most of the risk factors of cardiovascular disease demonstrate a tracking phenomenon into adult life. Many of the risk factors of cardiovascular diease are largely determined or influenced by lifestyle or environmental factors. Behavior patterns related to eating, exercise, smoking, and reaction to stressful life events are established early in life and are resistant to change, remaining relatively stable throughout life. There are no prospective studies that show a relationship between the presence of risk factors of cardiovascular disease in children and premature cardiovascular disease later in life. However, one can reasonably assume that if interventions are not initiated that risk factors of cardiovascular disease in children are likely to continue into adult years, resulting in a greater likelihood of developing premature cardiovascular disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health