Early prevention works best when it comes to a variety of health problems. But what do you do when obese young kids already have a greater risk of heart disease before even turning 12?
A Danish study presents a dire fact: 62 percent of severely obese children have a greater risk of heart disease than other kids. In fact, obese kids as young as two years old have been seen to present factors linked to heart disease. This is without a doubt data that contradicts what the overall audience knows about cardiovascular risks. In the end, heart disease is something usually associated with middle age, right?
The study conducted by researchers with the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam was published this week in the journal “Archives of Disease in Childhood”. It takes on a public health issue that has been afflicting the United States for years now. At least 10 percent of kids in the United States tested for high cholesterol levels and another third ranks as overweight or obese.
The Danish researchers investigated 307 children out of which 255 were severely obese children. If by age 18, a kid has a 35 BMI he or she is severely obese. But the two-year-olds in the Danish study already ranked as severely obese with a BMI of over 20.5. When researchers analyzed the data retrieved, they found some staggering numbers.
Out of the 255 severely obese children, 56 percent presented high blood pressure. 54 percent were identified to have high cholesterol levels and 14 percent tested positive for high fasting blood glucose. On the overall, 67 percent of the obese kids in the study of ages 2 to 12, presented at least one factor that put them at risk of heart disease.
Study authors write: “The prevalence of impaired fasting glucose is worrying, considering the increasing prevalence worldwide of type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents”. The study concludes: “Internationally accepted criteria for defining severe obesity and guidelines for early detection and treatment of severe obesity are urgently needed”.
“It’s a huge concern so many obese children were identified as already having at least one risk factor for heart disease, including high blood pressure, high blood glucose and problems with cholesterol levels” believes Doireann Maddock, British Heart Foundation senior cardiac nurse.