Navigation Links
Obesity Rolling Back Gains in Heart Health
Date:11/17/2009

Studies show risk factors rising among children and adults, with many denying they have a problem

TUESDAY, Nov. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Surging obesity rates, especially among children, may be putting the brakes on progress made in the past few decades against heart disease, researchers report.

And it doesn't help that many obese or overweight Americans still consider their weight "normal," as one study found.

One of several studies on the subject of obesity presented Tuesday at the American Heart Association (AHA) annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., found that adults' blood pressure and blood sugar levels are continuing to rise, fueled in large part by expanding waistlines.

This is swamping recent heart-health improvements such as lowered blood levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol or fewer people smoking, experts said.

Poring over government data between 1988-1994 and 2005-2006, researchers found that adult Americans' average body mass index (BMI) rose from 26.5 to 28.8 over that time span. To put that in context, a BMI of 25 marks the beginning of overweight, while doctors use a BMI of 30 as the threshold for obesity.

More people did achieve optimal LDL levels (22 percent versus 28 percent) and were non-smokers (rising from 45 percent to 50 percent) during the same time period, but those gains were outweighed by fewer people having good blood pressure (48 percent versus 43 percent) or blood sugar control (falling from 67 percent to 58 percent).

In fact, "many people feel the decline in [heart] risk factors is leveling off and there will be an acceleration of cardiovascular disease," said AHA spokesman Dr. Roger Blumenthal, professor of medicine in the division of cardiology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Things don't bode well for the next generation, either: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics now put the number of obese children and teens in the United States at about one-third.

"The prevalence of obesity and oversight in the U.S. and all developed countries is on the rise and reaching epidemic proportions among both adults and children," said Dr. David Crowley, lead author of a study on child obesity and a cardiology fellow at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. "In the course of the past three decades, the prevalence of obesity has doubled or in some cases tripled across all pediatric age groups."

Not only have children and teens become heavier, their hearts have become unhealthily thicker, as measured by left ventricular mass (LVM), indicating a higher risk for heart disease down the line.

"Left ventricular mass is a marker of stress on the heart and a predictor of heart attack and stroke," Crowley explained.

Between the mid-1980s and today, average BMIs in this sample of children went from 18.1 to 19.9, while LVM jumped from 31.4 to 32.7. Males and blacks fared worse than their female and/or white peers.

There were nearly twice as many overweight and obese children in the later period compared to the earlier era: 35 percent versus 20 percent. And the number of children with abnormally thick hearts more than doubled, Crowley reported.

"The obesity epidemic is indeed having adverse effects on the hearts of children compared to two decades ago," he said. "Today's children have higher BMI and higher LVM and therefore are at a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. If we do not get a handle on this in this country, if kids continue to get heavier, their hearts will inevitably get thicker and kids will be at higher risk of heart attacks and stroke."

Simple denial may be a component of this disaster, speculated a third study. It found that a large proportion of obese people believe their body size is normal and that they don't need to shrink. Some even believe they could safely gain more weight.

Almost one in 10 surveyed said they were okay with the size of their bodies after picking from a series of silhouettes the one they felt best represented their image of themselves.

This same group also thought they were healthy, even though many of them had risk factors for heart disease such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Ironically, individuals who were actually average or thin thought they were larger than they really were.

"Obesity is not benign," noted study lead author Dr. Tiffany Powell, a cardiology fellow at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. "This underscores the need for us as physicians to understand that we not only need to target those who have misperceptions in clinical settings, but we also need to do work at developing community programs targeting those who avoid the health-care system," Powell said.

"From our data, it looks like those who have misperceptions of body size are much less likely to be seen by physicians," she added.

Two other groups of researchers at the AHA meeting presented yet more reasons to lose weight. In one study, obese patients who lost weight saw a healthy normalization of the chambers in the right side of the heart (although it's unclear if this results in decreased risk for actual heart problems). And in another study, weight-loss surgery reduced the size of enlarged hearts. Enlarged hearts carry with them the risk of heart failure.

More information

There's more on obesity's impact on heart disease at the American Heart Association.



SOURCES: David Crowley, M.D., clinical fellow, cardiology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati; Tiffany Powell, M.D., cardiology fellow, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas; Roger Blumenthal, M.D., AHA spokesman and professor, medicine, division of cardiology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore; Nov. 17, 2009, presentations, American Heart Association annal meeting, Orlando, Fla.


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Obesity Rates Will Continue to Increase, Drive Health Care Costs in New Jersey in Next Decade, According to New Study
2. New Data Shows Obesity Costs Will Grow to $344 Billion by 2018
3. Youth Nutrition Education Needed In Farm-Based Education Programs To Combat Childhood Obesity
4. Donna H. Ryan, M.D., Elected President of The Obesity Society for 2009-2010
5. Teen Obesity Ups MS Risk in Women
6. Obesity Seems to Alter Heart Structure
7. America Battles Obesity, Dropping 5 Million Pounds
8. Amylin Pharmaceuticals and Takeda Enter into Worldwide Agreement to Co-Develop and Commercialize Compounds for Obesity
9. Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet Book by Obesity Expert Sanford Siegal, D.O., M.D, Cracks Amazon Top 500
10. Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Women
11. NFL, National Dairy Council Take Aim at Childhood Obesity With Fuel Up to Play 60
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/22/2017)... ... February 22, 2017 , ... The Centers ... to help small practices in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia prepare ... Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). , This technical assistance, ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... ... February 22, 2017 , ... ... 72 percent of those report that family members or friends have also commented ... suffer from hearing loss wear hearing aids. One reason, suggested by 89 percent ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... ... February 22, 2017 , ... FPS is a nonprofit mental ... Established in 1977, our organization was at the forefront in working with veterans ... life were evident and served as the catalyst for the establishing the agency. ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... Dallas, Texas (PRWEB) , ... February 22, 2017 ... ... mobile enterprise solutions for supply chain management (SCM) and spend management, today announced ... reduce cost, save time, and simplify expense tracking. , “We are excited ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... ... February 21, 2017 , ... ... Philpart, senior director at PolicyLink, will be the keynote speaker at its second ... and Men of Color Framework, which develops comprehensive strategies to create and expand ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/22/2017)... Fla. , Feb. 22, 2017  Corin Group ... System, a device used to treat patients with both ... of shoulder arthritis. The condition, known as cuff tear ... and shoulder. The Humelock Reversed Shoulder ... upper extremities technology company based near Lyon, ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... , February 22, 2017 A ... Synthesis Modules Market: Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2014-2022," ... $20 million in 2015 and projected to reach $32 million ... to 2022. North America accounted for ... unit volumes, whereas Asia-Pacific region is ...
(Date:2/22/2017)...  Known for selling everyday household products commonly ... prominent California urologist Dr. ... about the British conglomerate that makes those products – ... steal her late husband,s invention, business plans, and other ... Gilbert until his violent death in 2013, filed suit ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: