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Obese Kids' Arteries Are Hardening

You know the obesity problem has reached the epidemic phase when researchers find the beginnings of artery disease in overweight children as young as 7.

A group of Italian and U.S. scientists discovered signs the carotid arteries of obese children were already becoming thick and stiff, as well as indications that these kids may have a higher risk of diabetes.

For their study they screened 100 children aged 6 to 14 brought to a clinic in Naples because they were overweight. They compared those children to 47 of normal weight. On average, the obese children had higher insulin resistance -- a measure of tendency to diabetes -- than those of normal weight.

They also had higher blood pressure and cholesterol. For instance, obese children had an average blood pressure of 120/76. Those who have a weight had an average pressure of 98/65. Importantly, ultrasound scans showed the obese children had thicker and stiffer carotid arteries that carry blood to the head, researchers said.

The prevention of childhood obesity is far easier than applying treatment options, although much of the success of prevention depends on parental involvement. Setting guidelines and educating children on good nutrition through providing them with nutritious meals and snacks will put them on the road to making healthy decisions as adults.

Dr. Ben Lerner and I will be writing a book later this year about this problem and hope to offer some very specific practical guidelines that should have a major impact on this epidemic.

Until then, there are three simple things parents can do to prevent the obesity epidemic from hurting their children:

Yahoo News September 27, 2004

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