Childhood obesity doesn’t just increase the risk of developing heart disease later life. New research has found 2 out of 3 very obese kids already have heart disease risk factors – including high blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose – as early as their preteen years.
The study, published online in Archives of Disease in Childhood, found 56 percent of obese children had high blood pressure; 54 percent had high levels of low density “bad” cholesterol; one in seven (14 percent) had high fasting blood glucose; and just under 1 percent already had type 2 diabetes.
Overall, about 67 percent had at least one cardiovascular risk factor, and 62 percent of those aged 12 and under had one or more.
They findings were based on health records supplied by pediatricians to the Dutch Pediatric Surveillance Unit between 2005 and 2007 on 500 new cases of severe obesity in children aged of 2 to 18 in the Netherlands.
Researchers noted prevalence and severity of childhood obesity has been rising worldwide, but little research has been carried out on the underlying health problems that children with severe weight problems have, say the authors.
"The prevalence of impaired fasting glucose in [these children] is worrying, considering the increasing prevalence worldwide of type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents," said the authors. "Likewise, the high prevalence of hypertension and abnormal lipids may lead to cardiovascular disease in young adulthood."