Human Anatomy at Colby

Ground Rounds: The Relationship Between Coronary Heart Disease and Childhood Obesity

January 29th, 2014 · Comments Off on Ground Rounds: The Relationship Between Coronary Heart Disease and Childhood Obesity

By: Amanda Millatt,  Michelle Daigle

    Coronary vasculature carry oxygen rich blood to the heart muscle and removes  oxygen depleted blood. The left and the right artery each supply blood to a different part of the heart. Atherosclerosis is a disease that causes plaque to build up in arteries. Plaque is a buildup that consists of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances that can be found in blood. This plaque buildup can harden and narrow the arteries over the years, which limits the blood flow of oxygen-rich blood organs and other parts of the body. Atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries can completely block the flow of blood to the heart in some places or in others form a blood clot. This lack of blood to the heart tissues caused by a plaque buildup will cause  the heart muscle to die, thus causing a heart attack. The blockage of blood flow can cause angina, a symptom that simulates a discomfortable pressure in the chest area and sometimes can extend to other part of the body.

    A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine examined the effects of adolescent obesity on coronary heart disease in adults for the projected year 2020. Through a series of studies relying on the U.S. census, the National Hospital Discharge Survey and a few other studies along with computer programs they were able to project the percentage of overweight adolescents who will develop coronary heart disease as adults. Having an elevated Body Mass Index (BMI), a calculation of your height and weight to determine weight classes, creates many different risk factors for coronary heart disease, which include hypertension, dyslipidemia, and diabetes. To run this study researchers used the parameters of adult obesity being defined as a BMI of 30 or more and adolescent obesity as being in the 95th percentile on the growth charts. From this study done in 2000, researchers predicted that for the year 2020 the obesity rate for men and women is supposed to increase significantly. This elevates the risk of coronary heart disease by increasing the risk for plaque buildup in the blood, elevating diastolic blood pressure, cholesterol buildup in the blood and the risk for diabetes. They  also projected future obesity cases leading to coronary heart disease for the year 2035 and determined that the incidences of Coronary Heart Disease is expected to surpass 100,000 events for both their low, high, and average projections. Along these same lines they determined that through the use of treatment for high blood pressure and high cholesterol the rates of coronary heart disease due to obesity could be lowered.

Coronary Heart Disease  amillatt mdaigle

    Obesity has recently become prevalent in America because the increasing amount of sucrose in modern diets without fiber. Sucrose consist of glucose and fructose. America’s consumption of fructose went from 15g per day to now 75g per day. The explanation for obesity  starts with the increase of fructose which causes the pancreas to produce more insulin, hormone that signal cells to take sugar from the blood. Simultaneously glucose is metabolized by the whole body and stored as glycogen. Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver, however the body produced enough glycogen to suffice. Thus the liver converts the fructose into fat. The carbohydrates from the food consumed floods the tissues instantly turning into fat. This fat sends a hormone called leptin to the hypothalamus to tell the body to stop eating. The leptin is not received by the hypothalamus because the access insulin blocks the leptin. Thus causing the brain to think that the body needs more energy and the person continues eating.

Strategies to reduce childhood obesity are eat more fiber, reduce consumption of sugary drinks, wait 20 minute for a second plate of food and physical activity. The increase fiber consumption will cause a decrease in blood sugar level if three or more grams are consumed. The reduction of sugary drinks such as soda or orange juice, will decrease the amount of insulin produced. Food after being consumed will take 20 minutes to move completely through the intestine. At the end of the intestine is where hormones are produced to signal the brain that the stomach is full. Physical activity will reduce stress and stress induced eating. Through these lifestyle changes the adolescent will be decrease their risk for coronary heart disease.  Coronary Heart Disease  amillatt mdaigle -1


1.  Anatomy and Function of the Coronary Arteries. Stanford Hospital, 2014. (Accessed January 12, 2013, at

2. Bibbins-Domingo K, Coxson P, Lightwood J, Goldman L. Adolescent Overweight and Future Adult Coronary Heart Disease. N Engl J Med 2007; 357:2371-2379.

3. The Complete Skinny on Obesity. Perf. Dr. Robert Lustig. YouTube. YouTube, 23 Oct. 2013. Web. 28 Jan. 2014.

4. What is Coronary Heart Disease?.National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, 2012. (Accessed January 12, 2013, at

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