Primordial prevention of cardiometabolic risk in childhood
Fetal life and childhood are important in the development of cardiometabolic risk and later clinical disease of atherosclerosis, hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Molecular and environmental conditions leading to cardiometabolic risk in early life bring us a challenge to develop effective prevention and intervention strategies to reduce cardiovascular (CV) risk in children and later disease. It is important that prevention strategies begin at an early age to reduce future CV morbidity and mortality. Pioneering work from longitudinal studies such as Bogalusa Heart Study (BHS), the Finnish Youth Study and other programs provide an awareness of the need for public and health services to begin primordial prevention. The impending CV risk beginning in childhood has a significant socioeconomic burden. Directions to achieve primordial prevention of cardiometabolic risk in children have been developed by prior longitudinal studies. Based on those studies that show risk factors in childhood as precursors of adult CV risk, implementation of primordial prevention will have effects at broad levels. Considering the epidemic of obesity, the high prevalence of hypertension and cardiometabolic risk, prevention early in life is valuable. Comprehensive health education, such as ‘Health Ahead/Heart Smart’, for all elementary school age children is one approach to begin primordial prevention and can be included in public education beginning in kindergarten along with the traditional education subject matter. © 2016, Springer International Publishing AG.