Cumulative environmental stress and emerging cardiometabolic risk during childhood Journal Article uri icon
  • OBJECTIVE: To prospectively evaluate the relationship between cumulative environmental stress and cardiometabolic risk in middle childhood, and to examine whether hair cortisol, a measure of hypothalamic pituitary adrenal-axis activity, mediates this relationship. METHODS: In a cohort of children from low-income households (n = 320; 59% Hispanic, 23% Black, body mass index (BMI) percentile >50th at enrollment), environmental stressors including family and neighbourhood factors representing disadvantage/deprivation, and cortisol concentrations from hair samples, were measured over five timepoints beginning when children were 2-4 years old. Cardiometabolic risk factors (i.e., BMI, blood pressure, lipids, blood sugar, C-reactive protein) were measured at the final timepoint when children were 7-11 years of age. RESULTS: In adjusted logistic regression models, greater cumulative environmental stress was associated with a higher likelihood of elevated cardiometabolic risk in middle childhood (p = 0.01). Children from minoritized racial/ethnic groups had a higher prevalence of both stressors and cardiometabolic risk factors. Cumulative environmental stress was associated with higher hair cortisol concentrations (p < 0.01). However, hair cortisol was not directly associated with cardiometabolic risk factors and did not explain the association between environmental stress and cardiometabolic risk in causal mediation analysis. CONCLUSIONS: The influence of cumulative stress on cardiometabolic health can be observed in middle childhood and may contribute to cardiometabolic health disparities, highlighting the importance of public health interventions to mitigate disadvantage.

  • Link to Article
    publication date
  • 2024
  • published in
  • Pediatric Obesity  Journal
  • Research
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Obesity
  • Pediatrics
  • Prospective Studies
  • Racial Groups
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress
  • Additional Document Info
  • 19
  • issue
  • 6