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

erweight and obesity seriously, she said. "Physicians need to say this is important. It's as big a risk to your health as smoking or unprotected sex," Becker said.

The good news is that lifestyle changes can make a difference.

May said that "it's never too late to improve your lifestyle, physical activity and eating habits. Changing those things, if they're on the wrong course now, can be beneficial."

Becker agreed. "If teens can lose weight, they'll have a pretty good prognosis," she said. "If they don't make a change, then they'll carry all of these risk factors into adulthood, and that's like having a ticking time bomb over your head. You don't necessarily know when it's going to go off, but it's likely that it will."

More information

The Weight-control Information Network has advice on helping your overweight child.

SOURCES: Dorothy Becker, M.D., chief, endocrinology and diabetes, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; Ashleigh May, M.S., Ph.D., epidemiologist, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; June 2012, Pediatrics


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