Heart Problems Linked to Childhood Obesity

You may recall a study I posted a year ago about the connection between childhood obesity and serious health problems when those kids reach middle-age. A new report shows the obesity epidemic may be harming the health of teens far sooner than expected.

Researchers studied the health of 460 adolescent patients from North Dakota, South Dakota, Arizona and Oklahoma as part of the Strong Health Study. Sadly, nearly half of the teens were obese and some 110 more were overweight.

Compared to teens in a normal weight range, the left ventricle of the heart (the primary chamber where most of the pumping is done) was oversized. Even worse, 33 percent of the obese patients had ventricular hypertrophy, a condition in which either ventricle adapts to increased physical stress, in these cases brought on by obesity, that can lead to a deterioration in function.

Although researchers suggested early intervention was the key to prevention, they offered no suggestions to help children and their parents reduce the epidemic of obesity brewing at home. Fortunately, you have plenty of free tools on my Web site to help your children. Get a good head start by following these tips:

American College of Cardiology, Vol. 47, No. 11, June 6, 2006: 2267-2273

Yahoo News June 19, 2006

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