Obesity is a global health issue in both children and adults. Besides its comorbidities, cardiac structure and functions may be impaired from childhood if obesity is not controlled in the growing years. The effects of diet and exercise on the cardiovascular functions and biochemical parameters of obese children were evaluated in this study.
In a tertiary hospital, 6–16-year-old of mean age 10.8±2.3 years, non-random voluntarily selected 34 obese children with body mass index above 95th percentile and no syndromic or systemic illnesses were enrolled in this prospective study. Weights, heights, and blood pressures were recorded. Cardiac functions were evaluated by M-mode and tissue Doppler echocardiography. Glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol, triglyceride, liver enzyme, and thyroid hormone levels were analysed. These measurements were repeated after a 6-month diet and exercise programme. The results were compared statistically.
Echocardiography of the obese children after diet and exercise showed significantly increased ejection fraction, fractional shortening, mitral annular plane systolic excursion and mitral systolic velocity values, associated with the systolic ventricular functions, and decreased tissue Doppler mitral and tricuspid early diastolic velocities, related with the early diastolic ventricular functions, compared with before diet and exercise (p<0.05). Moreover, the body mass index, glucose, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels significantly decreased after diet and exercise (p<0.05).
The systolic and early diastolic cardiac functions are impaired and the biochemical parameters are distorted starting from the childhood because of the obesity. Regular diet and exercise provide significant improvement. Cardiac evaluation should be routinely performed in all obese children and they should be encouraged for a regular diet and exercise for better cardiovascular health.