Childhood Obesity Linked to Teen Heart Disease

It is well known that childhood or teen obesity are linked to a greater risk of heart disease later in life; however, a new study shows that children who have a high body mass index (BMI) are more likely to have high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood insulin levels (all risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease) by the time they reach adolescence. The study was published online on 25 November 2010 in the British Medical Journal.

Reassuringly, the authors of the study say, children with a high BMI who shed the weight by the time they become teenagers have better heart disease risk profiles than those who remain overweight.

“Our findings highlight the need to shift the whole childhood population distribution of adiposity downwards and to develop interventions that safely and effectively reduce weight and improve cardiovascular risk factors in overweight/obese children,” the authors conclude.

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1. Lawlor DA, Benfield L, Logue J, et al. Association between general and central adiposity in childhood, and change in these, with cardiovascular risk factors in adolescence: prospective cohort study. BMJ 2010; 341: c6224. (open access)