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Overweight Children Show Increased Risk of Heart Attacks, Strokes

Monday, July 14, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: obesity, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) Epidemic obesity among children today will lead to a surge in the occurrence of premature heart attacks in strokes as those children age, according to two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In the first study, researchers from the University of California at San Francisco and Columbia University used computer modeling to predict the likely effects of obesity in children. The study concluded that obese children are 19 percent more likely to die from heart disease, beginning when they hit age 35.

"It's the age and the magnitude that's so striking to us," lead author Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo said.

In the second study, researchers from the Institute for Preventive Medicine in Copenhagen, Denmark, analyzed data on 276,835 people who had first been examined in 1930. They found that the higher a child's body mass index had been, the higher their risk of contracting heart disease. A boy who was in the highest weight category at the age of 13, they found, had a 33 percent higher risk of cardiovascular problems by age 60.

"What's even more disturbing is that the highest weight category among Danish children would barely make it out of the normal range for U.S. kids," said David Ludwig of the Children's Hospital in Boston, who was not involved in the study but wrote an accompanying commentary.

A prior study authored by Ludwig found that obesity could result in children's life being shortened by two to five years. The results have been controversial, in part because new medications are increasing the life expectancy of heart disease patients even as the disease becomes more prevalent.

"The entire argument will be irrelevant, once the full effects of the childhood obesity epidemic are felt," Ludwig said.

Bibbins-Domingo called for widespread action to confront the health threat posed by childhood obesity.

"This is a problem that requires sweeping policy changes at all levels to make sure our children have access to healthy foods, physical activity, and safe spaces to exercise, because they are at the root of preventing weight gain in childhood," she

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