Sex-specific trajectories of measures of cardiovascular health during childhood and adolescence: A prospective cohort study

Linda O'Keeffe, Andrew Simpkin, Kate Tilling, Emma Anderson, Alun D. Hughes, Debbie Lawlor, Abigail Fraser, Laura Howe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

7 Citations (Scopus)
146 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background and aims
Sex differences in measures of cardiovascular health in adults are well documented. However, the sex-specific aetiology of cardiovascular health across childhood and adolescence is poorly understood.

Methods
We examined sex differences in trajectories of 11 measures of cardiovascular health from birth to 18 years, in a contemporary birth cohort study in England (N participants per outcomes: 662-13,985, N repeated measures per outcome: 1,831-112,768). Outcomes were measured over varying time spans from birth or mid-childhood to age 18 and with different numbers of repeated measures per outcome. Analyses were performed using fractional polynomial and linear spline multilevel models.

Results
Females had higher mean BMI, height-adjusted fat mass, pulse rate, insulin, triglycerides, and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) and lower mean height-adjusted lean mass from birth or from mid-childhood to age 18. For example, mean non-HDL-c was 0.07 mmol/l (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.04, 0.10) higher in females compared with males at birth. By age 18, this difference persisted and widened to 0.19 mmol/l (95% CI, 0.16, 0.23) higher non-HDL-c in females compared with males. Females had lower levels of glucose from mid-childhood and developed lower systolic blood pressure and higher HDL-c from mid-adolescence onward. For example, females had 0.08 mmol/l (95% CI, 0.05, 0.10) lower mean glucose compared with males at age seven which widened to a difference of 0.22 mmol/l (95% CI, 0.25, 0.19) at age 18.

Conclusions
Sex differences in measures of cardiovascular health are apparent from birth or mid-childhood and change during early life. These differences may have implications for sex-specific disease risk in future adult populations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-196
Number of pages7
JournalAtherosclerosis
Volume278
Early online date27 Sep 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018

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