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High CV risk in severely obese young people

Severely obese children and adolescents are developing early signs of heart disease, study findings suggest.

Researchers have reported detecting the early warning signs of heart disease in severely obese young people aged between 2 and 12 years of age. The study findings were published online in the Archives of Disease and Childhood on 23 July.

Between 2005 and 2007, researchers at the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam collected data on BMI and cardiovascular risk factors from the Dutch Paediatric Surveillance Unit. Researchers found that 62% of severely obese children and adolescents age less than 12 years had one or more cardiovascular risk factors.  Two thirds of young people presented with at least one early symptom of heart disease such as high blood pressure, and up to 54% had low levels of HDL-cholesterol.

Doireann Maddock, senior cardiac nurse with the British Heart Foundation, commented on the study findings, expressing “huge concern” over the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in a young population. She added, “This is a problem that can be addressed by stopping young people becoming overweight and obese in the first place.”

Researchers concluded that the findings highlight the urgent need to develop international guidelines for early identification and treatment of severe obesity and comorbidities.

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