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Obese Kids Have Old Arteries
Date:11/11/2008

Tests showed their carotid artery walls as thick as that of a middle-aged person

TUESDAY, Nov. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Kids these days are 13 going on 45, at least when it comes to their arteries.

According to research presented Tuesday at the American Heart Association's annual scientific sessions in New Orleans, obese adolescents had arteries more representative of someone three decades older.

"These data further illustrate the potential detrimental effects of obesity and its related risk factors, particularly components of the metabolic syndrome, on cardiovascular disease in children," said Dr. Carl Lavie, medical director of cardiac rehabilitation and prevention director of the Stress Testing Laboratory at Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans.

And even beyond the results of this study, said Dr. Catherine McNeal, an associate professor of internal medicine and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and a pediatrician at Scott & White Hospital in Temple, "it is clear that obesity is a risk factor for the development of premature cardiovascular disease in youth."

According to one scoring measure, obesity in male adolescents is a greater risk factor for cardiovascular disease than smoking, McNeal noted.

Obesity and related health problems are a pressing issue in most countries.

"Certainly, there is considerable concern that there is an obesity epidemic in the U.S., including in our children who are becoming more sedentary, watching more and more TV, playing video games and on the computer as opposed to physical activity outside," Lavie said. "In fact, there is concern that if the current obesity epidemic continues [and it actually seems to be worsening], we will soon see an abrupt end to the steady improvement in life expectancy in the U.S."

Researchers at the University of Missouri Kansas City Schoo
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