Cardiometabolic disease, including cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes, is the leading cause of death and illness in adult life. While not seen clinically in youth, it begins in childhood, making early prevention imperative. My research program aims to improve our understanding of the natural history and determinants of cardiometabolic disease in youth, to better identify those most at risk, and increase knowledge leading to the development of early prevention strategies. These goals will be pursued using three distinct projects.
The first project is the QUALITY Cohort, a unique study of 630 children with a family history of obesity. This project aims to better understand the development of the natural history of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes from childhood into late adolescence, and identify predisposing risk factors, including lifestyle habits (physical activity, screen time, diet, sleep). The second project, CARDEA, aims to gain a better understanding of CVD in youth with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Specifically, the project will measure compare established markers (cholesterol and blood pressure abnormalities) of CVD and novel measures by using new technology to identify the earliest identifiable changes (for example heart structure) in adolescents with T1D versus healthy controls and how they relate to lifestyle habits. I will use the information obtained from the QUALITY/CARDEA studies to develop innovative interventions that I will then test within the third project, the CIRCUIT program at CHU Sainte-Justine, an avant-garde program that includes a novel physical activity intervention and a summer camp.
The proposed studies will help clinicians identify those children most at risk of developing cardiometabolic disease, and help develop novel interventions that will serve to enhance clinical practice and community-based programs targeting at-risk youth.