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Obese children risk heart disease

26th November 2010

A study has revealed that children aged 9-12 who have a high body mass index (BMI) and fail to lose their excess weight are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease by the time they reach their mid teens.

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The research also found that if girls lose the excess weight before adolescence, their cardiovascular risk profile normalised but that it was only partly reduced in boys.

The research team from Bristol analysed data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children on 5,235 children who had been 9-12 years old at the start of the study.

It found childhood BMI was as good an indicator of risk as waist measurement and fat mass.

The children had blood pressure and the level of cholesterol, glucose and insulin measured when they were 15-16 after having BMI, waist and fat mass recorded at the start of the trial.

Those who had a high BMI at 9-12 years old were much more likely than normal-weight children to have hypertension, and raised cholesterol and insulin levels, at 15-16.

The study highlighted the benefits of weight loss.

But the report authors added: “Our findings highlight the need to shift the whole childhood population distribution of adiposity downwards and to develop interventions that safely and effectively reduce weight and improve cardiovascular risk factors in overweight/obese children.”

The British Heart Foundation said it was encouraging that children who tackle weight issues can reduce their risk of heart disease but more must be done to stop them becoming overweight and obese in the first place.

 

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