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Keywords:

  • Aggression;
  • cardiovascular disease;
  • Raine study;
  • risk factors

Summary

Objective

To examine the influence of aggressive behaviour scores on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors throughout childhood.

Methods

This study utilized cross-sectional and longitudinal data from the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study (n = 2900). Aggressive behaviour scores were derived from the Child Behavior Checklist/4–18(CBCL), Youth Self-Report/11–18 (YSR) and Teacher Report Form/6–18 (TRF). CVD risk factors included body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, fasting lipids and homeostasis model of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR).

Results

Girls with higher aggressive behaviour scores had higher BMI from 10 years of age (P ≤ 0.001), higher BMI trajectories throughout childhood (P = 0.0003) and at 14 years higher HOMA-IR (P = 0.008). At the 14-year survey, this equated to a difference of 1.7 kg/m2 in the predicted BMI between the extreme CBCL scores in girls (top 5% (CBCL ≥ 17) vs. CBCL score = 0). Boys with higher aggressive behaviour scores had higher BMI at 5 years (P = 0.002), lower diastolic pressure at 14 years (P = 0.002) and lower systolic blood pressure trajectories throughout childhood (P = 0.016).

Conclusion

Aggressive behaviour influences BMI from early childhood in girls but not boys. If this association is causal, childhood offers the opportunity for early behavioural intervention for obesity prevention.