Obese Children Can Have Arteries That Look Like They Are Middle Aged

Some obese children as young as 10 can have arteries that look like they are have a 45-year-old a study shows. This and other heart abnormalities how that obesity in childhood puts the young at risk for heart disease.

Doctors used ultrasound tests to look inside the hearts of obese children for a study conducted by Dr. Geetha Raghuveer of Children’s Hospital in Kansas City. Raghuveer and other doctors involved in the study presented their findings at an American Heart Association conference on Tuesday.

The Associated Press reports:

“As the old saying goes, you’re as old as your arteries are,” said Dr. Geetha Raghuveer of Children’s Hospital in Kansas City, who led one of the studies. “This is a wake-up call.”

American’s children are increasingly becoming overweight. About one third of American kids are overweight and one-fifth are obese. While many parents believe that “baby fat” will melt off as a child grows older it is now known that most fat kids will become fat adults. Heart disease is one of the risks for those who are overweight.

Using ultrasound tests Raghuveer and colleagues tested the thickness of a major neck artery in 70 children aged 10 to 16. Many of the children were obese. Most of the children had abnormal cholesterol levels.

The shocking results showed that many of the obese children had a ‘vascular age’ that was about 30 years above their biological age.

“Obesity is not benign in children and adolescents,” said Dr. Robert Eckel, a former heart association president and cardiologist at the University of Colorado-Denver. It is why the American Academy of Pediatrics recently recommended cholesterol-lowering drugs for some kids, he noted.

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