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U.S. Teens Heading for Heart Trouble: Study
Date:5/21/2012

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) -- Many American teenagers, including some with a normal, healthy weight, already have one or more risk factors for heart disease, researchers say.

About 22 percent of today's teens have borderline-high or already high LDL cholesterol -- that's the bad type. And 15 percent have pre-diabetes or diabetes, according to the new research based on data spanning from 1999 to 2008.

When the study authors looked at the year-by-year differences, however, one risk factor stood out. At the start of the study period, the rate of pre-diabetes/diabetes was 9 percent. By the end of the study, that number was 23 percent.

"Pre-diabetes and diabetes increased over time among adolescents," said the study's lead author, Ashleigh May, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

May added that the rate of pre-diabetes/diabetes as well as the other cardiovascular risk factors went up as weight increased.

The study was released online May 21, and will be published in the June print issue of Pediatrics.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in U.S. adults, according to background information in the study. Although most manifestations, such as stroke and heart attack, don't occur until adulthood, there's been increasing evidence that risk factors for cardiovascular disease may be evident much sooner. And, with more and more American children and teens becoming overweight and obese, health experts are increasingly concerned about the possibility of cardiovascular risk factors showing up at younger ages.

The current study reviews data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 through 2008. The survey includes a nationally representative sample of the U.S. population. For this study, the investigators focused on the 3,383 teens who were between 12 and 19 years ol
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