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Smoking Raises Metabolic Syndrome Risks In Teens

If we fail to reverse the plague of obesity in this country, for the first time in history, children will have shorter lifespans than their parents. However, I firmly believe we can make the necessary changes to end this epidemic before it gets much worse. And, if you're a smoker, for the health of your kids, you'll want to stop that horrid habit too, but not for the reasons you might suspect.

A new study links exposure to cigarette smoke to a higher risk of metabolic syndrome -- the deadly cluster of symptoms including diabetes, raised cholesterol and high blood pressure that's already been connected with childhood obesity -- among teens.

In reviewing the medical records of some 2,300 kids (some of whom also smoked), researchers discovered 5 percent of adolescents (ages 12-19) exposed to secondhand smoke suffered from metabolic syndrome, and those rates jumped from such exposure. The effect was even worse on teens who were already overweight or at risk:

  • 6 percent for those not exposed to smoke.
  • 20 percent for those whose only exposure is secondhand smoke.
  • 24 percent for teen smokers.

Even worse, scientists aren't certain what smoking does that makes teens more prone to metabolic syndrome either. However, a recent study in the British Medical Journal identified seven risk factors for childhood obesity that will doubtlessly serve as a good starting point.

Some simple but powerful recommendations for protecting your teen's health and well being:

Circulation August 1, 2005

Yahoo News August 2, 2005

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