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Reinehr, Thomas; Tittel, Sascha R.; Holle, Rolf; Wiegand, Susanna; Gellhaus, Ines; Hebebrand, Johannes; Greber-Platzer, Susanne; Denzer, Christian; Linke, Sabine; Kiess, Wieland and Holl, Reinhard W. (2021): Comparison of cardiovascular risk factors between children and adolescents with classes III and IV obesity: findings from the APV cohort. In: International Journal of Obesity, Vol. 45, No. 5: pp. 1061-1073

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Objective Obesity is associated with many cardiovascular risk factors (CVRF) in childhood. There is an ongoing discussion whether there is a linear relationship between degree of overweight and deterioration of CVRFs justifying body mass index (BMI) cut-offs for treatment decisions. Methods We studied the impact of BMI-SDS on blood pressure, lipids, and glucose metabolism in 76,660 children (aged 5-25 years) subdivided in five groups: overweight (BMI-SDS 1.3 to <1.8), obesity class I (BMI-SDS 1.8 to <2.3), class II (BMI-SDS 2.3-2.8), class III (BMI-SDS > 2.8-3.3), and class IV (BMI-SDS > 3.3). Analyses were stratified by age and sex. Results We found a relationship between BMI-SDS and blood pressure, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, liver enzymes, and the triglycerides-HDL-cholesterol ratio at any age and sex. Many of these associations lost significance when comparing children with obesity classes III and IV: In females < 14 years and males < 12 years triglycerides and glucose parameters did not differ significantly between classes IV and III obesity. Prevalence of dyslipidemia was significantly higher in class IV compared to class III obesity only in females >= 14 years and males >= 12 years but not in younger children. In girls < 14 years and in boys of any age, the prevalences of type 2 diabetes mellitus did not differ between classes III and IV obesity. Conclusions Since a BMI above the highest BMI cut-off was not associated consistently with dyslipidemia and disturbed glucose metabolism in every age group both in boys and girls, measurements of CVRFs instead of BMI cut-off seem preferable to guide different treatment approaches in obesity such as medications or bariatric surgery.

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