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OBJECTIVE: Vascular damage is suggested to have origins in childhood adiposity, but it is not clear whether this is a direct consequence of being obese in childhood. We aimed to estimate the associations of childhood body size or adiposity with adult vascular health, and to investigate whether these associations were independent of adult body size or adiposity. DESIGN AND METHODS: Subjects were 2328 participants aged 7-15 years at baseline in 1985 with follow-up during 2004-2006 when aged 26-36 years. Anthropometric measures were taken at both baseline and follow-up. Carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and three measures of large artery stiffness (LAS) were measured by ultrasound at follow-up. RESULTS: Childhood body size or adiposity was positively associated with both adult IMT and LAS. Participants who were obese in adulthood had the greatest LAS, particularly those who were normal weight in childhood. Adjustment for adult body size or adiposity eliminated effects of childhood body size or adiposity on LAS. For IMT, adjustment for adult body size or adiposity reduced estimated effects of child height by 44% (male) and 27% (female), of child weight by 46% (male) and 70% (female) and, after adjusting for sex, of child body mass index and body surface area by 60% and 53% respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Whereas IMT appeared to be influenced by body size or adiposity during childhood and early adulthood, LAS depended primarily on current adiposity and magnitude of adiposity gain between childhood and adulthood.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





259 - 264


Adiposity, Adolescent, Adult, Age Distribution, Body Mass Index, Body Surface Area, Cardiovascular Diseases, Carotid Intima-Media Thickness, Child, Elasticity, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Male, Obesity, Prospective Studies, Risk Factors, Vascular Stiffness, Waist-Hip Ratio