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Cardiovascular disease risk factors in Welsh adolescents: where are we now?
  1. N E Thomas,
  2. R Williams,
  3. D A Rowe,
  4. J S Baker
  1. Centre for Children and Young People's Health and Well-Being, School of Human and Health Sciences, Vivian Tower, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea, UK


The aim was to investigate secular trends in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in Welsh adolescents between 2002 and 2007. CVD risk factor data were examined from two school-based cross-sectional studies. The initial study (September to October, 2002) included 73 participants, aged 12.9±0.3 years. The final study of 90 participants, aged 12.9±0.4 years, was completed during September to October, 2007. Measurements included adiposity, physical activity (PA), physical fitness (PF), diet, total cholesterol, high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol, triglyceride, fibrinogen (Fg) and high-sensitivity C reactive protein (hs-CRP). On both occasions, testing was carried out in the same school, and by the same experienced researcher using identical procedure. PA and PF levels improved for boys and girls in 2007; however, 80% of girls still did not meet the recommended 1 h/day of moderate PA. For both sexes, dietary fat intake did not differ between 2002 and 2007 cohorts; Welsh adolescents continued to consume a diet that was too high in saturated fat. Although mean adiposity tended to decrease between 2002 and 2007 in boys, this was not significant (p≥0.05). Overall, there were improvements in mean lipid profile and inflammatory status (p<0.05). More adolescents in the earlier cohort exceeded the recommended levels for lipids, Fg and hs-CRP. Despite our finding that overweight continues to be widespread in Welsh adolescents, levels had not risen in our later cohort. This concurs with recent international evidence which suggests a “levelling off” in childhood obesity. The authors identified an upward trend in PA and PF, but no changes in dietary habits. This suggests that increased PA/PF, without dietary modification, has little effect on adiposity. Generally, our findings present a positive trend in lipid profile, as well as inflammatory factors. These improvements may be linked to the enhanced PA and PF profiles of the 2007 cohort.

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