Obese children at higher risk of heart disease

August 10, 2005 in Heart Health, Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Nutrition Topics in the News

Obese children at higher risk of heart disease

According to research from Thomas Jefferson University, obese children and adolescents have an increased risk of developing heart disease.

The researchers evaluated blood lipid levels and blood pressure in nearly 500 overweight children and teens ranging in age from 3 to 18. More than 25 percent of the study particpants had pre-hypertension and 7 percent had hypertension (high blood pressure). Rates of prehypertension and hypertension increased as the severity of obesity increased.

Regardless of blood pressure or degree of obesity, abnormal blood fat levels were common among particpants. In addition, levels of "good" (HDL) cholesterol were significantly lower and triglyceride levels higher among boys with prehypertension or hypertension than boys with normal blood pressure. These differences were not seen in girls.

It is known that heart disease occurs more frequently and at younger ages in adult males compared to females, however, this data suggests that the gender difference in risk begins in adolescence. Researchers are stressing the importance of prevention of childhood obesity, through regular physical activity and healthy eating, in an effort to reduce prevalance of heart disease.

Recent Canadian research has suggested that Canadian children are currently among the heaviest in the world. Nearly one in five Canadian children are overweight, while more than 4 percent of children are obese.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.