|Childhood obesity has grown at an alarming rate, and concomitant with this rise there is an increasing prevalence of metabolic risk factors in young children and adolescents. These metabolic risk factors include elevated circulating triglycerides and low levels of high-density lipoprotein, but also an increase in inflammatory biomarkers such as C-reactive protein and interleukin-6.
Each of these factors has been associated with the development of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Recent research has indicated that dietary modifications such as increased intakes of antioxidants or omega-3 fatty acids or increased physical activity and physical fitness may independently modify the inflammation associated with excess adiposity.
Additional research on the impact of diet and exercise on inflammation in children is warranted, especially studies that are prospective in nature.
Finally, current biomarkers of inflammation may not be sensitive enough to detect metabolic risk in youth, and novel biomarkers may be needed to detect the subtle changes in inflammation due to diet and physical activity modifications.