Overweight Teens at Risk of Heart Problems

Recent data has revealed that more than half of the United States’ overweight teens are at risk of heart problems as a result of high blood pressure, blood sugar levels or cholesterol. Children who are obese are even more susceptible to these conditions.

“What this is saying, unfortunately, is that we’re losing the battle early with many kids,” said University of Colorado School of Medicine’s Dr. Stephen Daniels. He added that people can guard their health and minimize risk of heart disease by reaching the ages 45-50 while maintaining a healthy weight, normal blood pressure and cholesterol, and no diabetes.

The figure above was discovered through a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study researching 3,383 teens between the ages 12 and 19. The project included interviews, weight monitoring, regular measurements and medical tests.

Though the study revealed that being overweight can dramatically increase risk to heart health, it also suggested that the obesity levels are not rising in the U.S.

“All of us are looking for some sign or signal that we’re making headway,” said Dr. William Mahle of Emory University. “So that was reassuring.”

However, the amount of diabetes and pre-diabetic conditions are climbing at an alarming rate, baffling the doctors involved in the study. Some believe the numbers are a result of less accurate testing devices, while others believe there is a different underlying cause.

“This study is just a first step to identify problems in youth. More work needs to be done to identify why this is happening and the advantages of using various test methods in this population,” said CDC epidemiologist Ashleigh May.