Kids’ Wrist Size Tied to Heart Health

A study released in Circulation magazine found that the circumference of a child’s wrist might be an indicator of their future heart health. The study took 477 children and teens classified as either overweight or obese and measured their wrists using a tape measure. Fifty-one of the children also had their wrist bone measured using nuclear imaging.

Subjects then had blood drawn to measure insulin levels. Findings showed that increased insulin levels accompanied larger wrist bone sizes more often than higher body mass index (BMI), indicating that having a large wrist circumference is a better predictor of heart disease risk for young people. A BMI is a number calculated based on a person’s height and weight, which will classify the person as healthy, overweight or obese. People with a BMI over 25 are considered at increased risk for heart disease. The study found that large wrist circumferences were tied to insulin resistance, an indicator of heart disease.

Researchers noted that the correlation between wrist circumference and insulin levels was not necessarily surprising. High amounts of insulin in the system can affect bone growth, which explains the large wrist circumferences in children with increased levels of insulin in their systems.

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