Obese Kids' Wrist Size May Predict Heart Disease

MONDAY April 11, 2011 -- The wrist size of overweight or obese children and teens may reveal those at increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, says a new study.

Italian researchers measured the wrist circumference of 477 overweight or obese youngsters, average age 10. They also used a painless nuclear imaging technique on about 50 of the children to measure the fatty and bony areas of the wrist more precisely.

Blood tests were then conducted to measure the children's insulin levels and amount of insulin resistance.

The study authors concluded that wrist circumference accounted for 12 to 17 percent of the total variance of insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance -- a condition in which the body has difficulty using insulin to break down blood sugar -- is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Recent studies have shown an association between high blood insulin levels and increased bone mass.

The study is published April 11 in the journal Circulation.

"This is the first evidence that wrist circumference is highly correlated to evidence of insulin resistance," senior author Dr. Raffaella Buzzetti, of Sapienza University of Rome, said in a journal news release. "Wrist circumference is easily measured, and if our work is confirmed by future studies, wrist circumference could someday be used to predict insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease risk."

It is the wrist's bony tissue, not the fatty tissue, that explains insulin resistance, the researchers said.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about overweight and obesity in children.

Posted: April 2011


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