CDC: Half of overweight teens have heart risk

May 21, 2012 By MIKE STOBBE , AP Medical Writer

(AP) -- Half the nation's overweight teens have unhealthy blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar levels that put them at risk for future heart attacks and other cardiac problems, new federal research says.

And an even larger proportion of obese adolescents have such a risk, according to the alarming new numbers.

"What this is saying, unfortunately, is that we're losing the battle early with many kids," said Dr. Stephen Daniels, a University of Colorado School of Medicine expert who was not involved in the study.

People can keep their risk of heart disease very low if they reach age 45 or 50 at normal weight and with , normal cholesterol and no diabetes. So these results are not good, he said.

The study was released Monday in the .

The research focused on 3,383 adolescents ages 12 through 19. The youths were part of an intensive national study that involves interviewing, weighing, measuring and performing medical tests on people across the country.

The ongoing CDC study is considered a gold standard for looking at national health trends, said Dr. William Mahle, an Emory University pediatric cardiologist.

So there was some good news, Mahle said, that the study found no increase in levels of obesity, high blood pressure or during the years it covered - 1999 through 2008.

"All of us are looking for some sign or signal that we're making headway," said Mahle, who was not involved with the study. "So that was reassuring."

But one measure did get worse: The percentage of adolescents who were diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes rose dramatically, from 9 percent to 21 percent. Pre-diabetics have higher than levels, but not high enough to count as diabetes.

It's not clear why the proportion of kids with would increase while the measures for the other factors held steady. It may have something to do with the kind of test used to measure blood sugar, Daniels said.

Adolescents in the study were given a blood test that can give varying results depending on the day or time of day the test is given. Other tests, though more involved and more expensive, are considered more precise.

Daniels said it's possible another testing method might not have produced a swing so large.

That is possible, said Ashleigh May, the CDC epidemiologist who was the study's lead author.

"This study is just a first step to identify problems in youth. More work needs to be done to identify why this is happening and the advantages of using various test methods in this population," she said.

Overall the study found that 50 percent of overweight youths and 60 percent of obese youths had at least one risk factor for future heart disease.

But normal-weight kids aren't off the hook - 37 percent had at least one risk factor and could face increased chances for heart trouble as adults, the study suggests.

Explore further: New advice on kids' cholesterol tests

More information: Journal: http://www.pediatrics.org

shares

Related Stories

New advice on kids' cholesterol tests

November 10, 2011
More children should be screened for high cholesterol before puberty, beyond those with a family history of problems, according to wide-ranging new guidelines expected from government-appointed experts who are trying to prevent ...

Diabetes may significantly increase your risk of dementia

September 19, 2011
People with diabetes appear to be at a significantly increased risk of developing dementia, according to a study published in the September 20, 2011, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of ...

Overweight moms with moderately high blood sugar raise health risk

April 11, 2012
Pregnant women who are overweight with moderately elevated blood sugar never set off any alarms for their physicians. The big concern was for women who were obese or who had gestational diabetes because those conditions are ...

Recommended for you

Molecules in spit may be able to diagnose and predict length of concussions

November 20, 2017
Diagnosing a concussion can sometimes be a guessing game, but clues taken from small molecules in saliva may be able to help diagnose and predict the duration of concussions in children, according to Penn State College of ...

Breastfed babies are less likely to have eczema as teenagers, study shows

November 13, 2017
Babies whose mothers had received support to breastfeed exclusively for a sustained period from birth have a 54% lower risk of eczema at the age of 16, a new study led by researchers from King's College London, Harvard University, ...

Obesity during pregnancy may lead directly to fetal overgrowth, study suggests

November 13, 2017
Obesity during pregnancy—independent of its health consequences such as diabetes—may account for the higher risk of giving birth to an atypically large infant, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health. ...

Working to reduce brain injury in newborns

November 10, 2017
Research-clinicians at Children's National Health System led the first study to identify a promising treatment to reduce or prevent brain injury in newborns who have suffered hypoxia-ischemia, a serious complication in which ...

Why do some kids die under dental anesthesia?

November 9, 2017
Anesthesiologists call for more research into child deaths caused by dental anesthesia in an article published online by the journal Pediatrics.

Probability calculations—even babies can master it

November 3, 2017
One important feature of the brain is its ability to make generalisations based on sparse data. By learning regularities in our environment it can manage to guide our actions. As adults, we have therefore a vague understanding ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.