Context: Biological stress is related to cardiovascular disease in adults. The associations of stress with cardiovascular and metabolic diseases may originate in childhood. Objective: This work aims to examine the associations of hair cortisol concentrations at age 6 years with cardiometabolic risk factors at ages 6 and 10 years. Methods: Cortisol concentrations were measured in hair of 6-year-old children (n = 2598) participating in the Generation R Study, a population-based prospective cohort study in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Main outcome measures included blood pressure, heart rate, concentrations of insulin, glucose, lipids, and C-reactive protein in blood at ages 6 and 10 years. Results: Higher hair cortisol concentrations at age 6 years were associated with higher systolic blood pressure at age 10 years (difference 0.17 SD score; 95% CI, 0.03-0.31). The association attenuated into nonsignifcance after adjustment for childhood body mass index (BMI) at age 6 years. Higher hair cortisol concentrations at age 6 years were associated with an increase in total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol between ages 6 and 10 years but not with those measurements at age 6 or 10 years. Hair cortisol concentrations were not associated with other cardiometabolic risk factors at age 6 or 10 years. Conclusion: Hair cortisol concentrations were not independent of BMI associated with cardiometabolic risk factors at 6 or 10 years. The associations of biological stress with cardiometabolic risk factors may develop at later ages.
Bibliographical noteFinancial Support: This work was supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (Nos. 848158, EarlyCause; 733206, LifeCycle; and 874739 LongITools). The general design of the Generation R Study is supported by the Erasmus Medical Center, University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw); the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO); the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport; and the Ministry of Youth and Families. Dr Jaddoe has received funding from the European Research Council (grant No. ERC-2014-CoG-648916). Dr van den Akker and Dr van Rossum are supported by the Elisabeth Foundation. Dr van Rossum received a Vidi Grant (No. 91716453) from the Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research NWO.
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Endocrine Society.