Oxford University Press (OUP), The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 9(106), p. e3400-e3413, 2021
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Abstract Context Biological stress is related to cardiovascular disease in adults. The associations of stress with cardiovascular and metabolic diseases may originate in childhood. Objective This work aims to examine the associations of hair cortisol concentrations at age 6 years with cardiometabolic risk factors at ages 6 and 10 years. Methods Cortisol concentrations were measured in hair of 6-year-old children (n = 2598) participating in the Generation R Study, a population-based prospective cohort study in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Main outcome measures included blood pressure, heart rate, concentrations of insulin, glucose, lipids, and C-reactive protein in blood at ages 6 and 10 years. Results Higher hair cortisol concentrations at age 6 years were associated with higher systolic blood pressure at age 10 years (difference 0.17 SD score; 95% CI, 0.03-0.31). The association attenuated into nonsignificance after adjustment for childhood body mass index (BMI) at age 6 years. Higher hair cortisol concentrations at age 6 years were associated with an increase in total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol between ages 6 and 10 years but not with those measurements at age 6 or 10 years. Hair cortisol concentrations were not associated with other cardiometabolic risk factors at age 6 or 10 years. Conclusion Hair cortisol concentrations were not independent of BMI associated with cardiometabolic risk factors at 6 or 10 years. The associations of biological stress with cardiometabolic risk factors may develop at later ages.