Overweight and obesity during adolescence are associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. The objective of this study was to examine the recent trends in the prevalence of selected biological CVD risk factors and the prevalence of these risk factors by overweight/obesity status among US adolescents.


The NHANES is a cross-sectional, stratified, multistage probability sample survey of the US civilian, noninstitutionalized population. The study sample included 3383 participants aged 12 to 19 years from the 1999 through 2008 NHANES.


Among the US adolescents aged 12 to 19 years, the overall prevalence was 14% for prehypertension/hypertension, 22% for borderline-high/high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, 6% for low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (<35 mg/dL), and 15% for prediabetes/diabetes during the survey period from 1999 to 2008. No significant change in the prevalence of prehypertension/hypertension (17% and 13%) and borderline-high/high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (23% and 19%) was observed from 1999–2000 to 2007–2008, but the prevalence of prediabetes/diabetes increased from 9% to 23%. A consistent dose-response increase in the prevalence of each of these CVD risk factors was observed by weight categories: the estimated 37%, 49%, and 61% of the overweight, obese, and normal-weight adolescents, respectively, had at least 1 of these CVD risk factors during the 1999 through 2008 study period.


The results of this national study indicate that US adolescents carry a substantial burden of CVD risk factors, especially those youth who are overweight or obese.

You do not currently have access to this content.