In 6- to 8-year-old children, hair cortisol is associated with body mass index and somatic complaints, but not with stress, health-related quality of life, blood pressure, retinal vessel diameters, and cardiorespiratory fitness
Objectives: Hair cortisol measurement has become an increasingly accepted approach in endocrinology and biopsychology. However, while in adult research hair cortisol has been proposed as a relevant biomarker for chronic stress (and its adverse consequences), studies with children are scarce. Therefore, the goal of the present exploratory study was to examine the associations between hair cortisol concentrations (HCCs), stress, and a series of health-related outcomes in a sample of Swiss first grade schoolchildren. Methods: The sample consisted of 318 children (53% girls, M age =7. 7.26, SD=0.35). Hair strands were taken near the scalp from a posterior vertex position, and HCCs were tested for the first 3-cm hair segment. Parents provided information about their children's age, gender, parental education, children's stress (recent critical life events, daily hassles), health-related quality of life, and psychosomatic complaints. Body composition, blood pressure, retinal vessel diameters, and cardiorespiratory fitness were measured with established methods. Results: In multiple regression analyses, higher HCCs were weakly associated with increased BMI in girls (β=0.22, p
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