Associations of Hair Cortisol Concentrations with Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Childhood

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Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E3400-E3413
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Volume106
Issue number9
Early online date29 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2021

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