AHA Logo Here is a novel means to detect the risk of developing cardiovascular disease in children and teens. A recent research claims that simply measuring the wrist bone can help identify which overweight children and adolescents face an elevated threat of being diagnosed with heart disease. It was suggested that wrist circumference can be an effective marker for increased bone metabolism in the presence of high insulin levels.

The study comprised 477 overweight/obese children and adolescents in an average age group of 10 years. Wrist circumferences were apparently attributable for 12 percent to 17 percent of the total variance of insulin resistance. Scientists mention that insulin resistance is not only the size of the wrist’s bony tissue, but also the fatty tissue. It is a commonly held belief that higher insulin levels indicate heightened threat of developing cardiovascular disease. Even though excess body fat relates to heart disease risk factors including insulin resistance, measuring body fat in children may be problematic partly because of how rapidly their bodies change during puberty.

“This is the first evidence that wrist circumference is highly correlated to evidence of insulin resistance. Wrist circumference is easily measured and if our work is confirmed by future studies, wrist circumference could someday be used to predict insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease risk,” added Raffaella Buzzetti, M.D., senior study author and professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at ‘Sapienza’ University of Rome, Italy.

At the time of the study, authors measured wrist circumference manually with a cloth tape measure. Also a subset of 51 children underwent a painless imaging technique called nuclear magnetic resonance for precise measuring of the bony area vs. fatty area of the wrist. A parameter traditionally connected to the frame size was put to use. Study subjects then underwent blood tests to measure insulin levels and quantify the amount of insulin resistance. The wrist circumference supposedly accounted for 12 percent of the variance in insulin resistance and in insulin levels.

As per the imaging analysis, the wrist bone size accounted for 17 percent of the variance in insulin resistance. The association between the cross-section of the wrist bones and the level of insulin in the blood or the amount of insulin resistance, appeared were much stronger than the link between BMI and insulin levels or insulin resistance. Experts conclude that wrist circumference can be a marker for increased bone metabolism in the presence of high insulin levels. Also wrist circumference can purportedly be an easy-to-detect measure of skeletal frame size that’s not severely confounded by body fat variation around the time of puberty.

The study is published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.