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Obesity Common in Children with Heart Disease
Date:11/1/2007

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Obesity is common in children with heart disease, a population already at increased risk of a shortened life expectancy.

More than 25 percent of children with congenital and acquired heart disease are overweight or obese, say researchers from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Children's Hospital, Boston in a study released in the current issue of Pediatrics. While this 25 percent prevalence is similar to the rate found in the general population, the researchers stress that health risks from obesity are added to the children's separate risks from their underlying heart disease.

Activity restrictions, whether or not they are recommended by physicians, may play a role in the development of obesity in this patient group, say the research team, adding that doctors may need to counsel families on safe and appropriate exercise routines for their children.

"Children with congenital heart disease may have unique risk factors which may contribute to the development of obesity," said Nelangi M. Pinto, M.D., a pediatric cardiologist now at University of Utah formerly of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia where the research was conducted and primary investigator of this study. "The long-term impact of superimposed obesity on children with heart disease is unknown but is likely to increase morbidity and mortality as it does in adults with heart disease."

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia clinicians collaborated with researchers from Children's Hospital Boston, to review the medical records from a sample of 2,921 patients between ages six and 19 years of age who visited one of the hospitals for cardiology outpatient care in 2004. Of the 2,921 samples, 1,523 children had either acquired or congenital heart disease.

Roughly half of the sample who had no significant heart disease constituted the control group in the study. The rate of overweight and obesity in these con
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SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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