Childhood obesity, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in adulthood, may also contribute to cardiovascular damage and dysfunction during childhood, according to a recent review (subscription required) in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Among the alarming clinical studies, obese children:
- With risk factors for atherosclerosis had a "vascular age" similar to that of a 45-year-old healthy adult.
- Had significantly greater left atrial and left ventricular dimensions than those with a healthy body mass index.
- Had higher levels of epicardial fat, which has been proposed as a cardiovascular risk factor.
- Had altered cardiac mechanics, including diastolic dysfunction and systolic dysfunction at rest and during exercise.
Missing from the evidence is a clear understanding of what is normal in children and what can be expected as they grow and develop, Devlin and colleagues reported.
Previously: Sugar intake, diabetes and kids: Q&A with a pediatric obesity expert, Using hip hop to teach children about healthy habits, Community violence can increase risk of heart disease and Study says nearly 40 percent of American children’s diet consists of empty calories
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