Children with Obesity, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes and High Cholesterol

Children with Obesity, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes and High Cholesterol

More than half (52%) of the 1,168 9- to 13-year-old boys and girls polled said too many children are overweight. And most kids seem to know the reason why so many children are overweight - more than half the respondents said overweight kids either don't exercise (29%) or don't eat right (25%).


Not only are overweight and obese children at risk for serious health conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol - all once considered exclusively adult health concerns - they're also prone to low self-esteem that stems from being teased, bullied, or rejected by peers.

Children with heart disease risk factors -- obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol -- already show indications of fatty build-up in their arteries that could cause heart attacks when they're adults, Canadian researchers report.

Heart disease includes a variety of problems, including high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, hardening of the arteries, chest pain, heart attacks, and strokes.Arteriosclerosis (say: ar-teer-ee-oh-skluh-row-sus) and atherosclerosis (say: ah-thuh-row-skluh-row-sus): Also called hardening of the arteries, arteriosclerosis means a person's arteries become thickened and are no longer as flexible. People with atherosclerosis have a buildup of cholesterol and fat that makes their arteries narrower so less blood can flow through. Those deposits are called plaque.

Checking your blood sugar levels several times a day will let you and your parents know when your blood sugar level is high. Then you can treat it and help prevent DKA(Diabetic Ketoacidosis) from happening.

High levels of cholesterol are known to be a major factor contributing to heart disease and strokes, and the latest medical research shows coronary artery disease has its roots in childhood.Childhood cholesterol levels weren't tracked until recently, but some experts think that high cholesterol in kids is a major underreported public health problem.

"Primary prevention of heart disease must start in childhood. We need to start looking at and treating risk factors for heart disease in children," researcher Dr. Sanaz Piran, an internal medicine resident at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., said in a prepared statement.

Piran and her colleagues reviewed data on 3,630 children, ages 5 to 18, who took part in 26 studies in Australia, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and the United States. Those studies used noninvasive methods to measure arterial blood flow and the thickness of artery walls in children with and without heart disease risk factors.

In many cases, children with heart disease risk factors showed early signs of atherosclerosis.

The review was expected to presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, in Chicago. The findings highlight the need for parents and doctors to prevent and treat cardiovascular risk factors in children, the authors said.

"Diet and exercise are especially important to curb the escalating problem of childhood obesity," Piran said.

"Obesity puts children at risk for high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol levels. Children's diets have changed dramatically, influenced by television commercials and the convenience of fast foods," she said. "Children are eating too much fatty and processed foods. Parents need to involve their kids in regular exercise activities and cut down on fatty meals, emphasizing healthy food such as vegetables."

Parents should not smoke in the presence of children and, if there's a family history of high cholesterol, children need to have their cholesterol levels checked, Piran said.

"The very things we recommend to adults should be recommended to parents for their children. There needs to be a family-oriented approach to cardiovascular prevention and to addressing these risk factors," she said.

In the past few years, studies have shown a dramatic increase in obesity in children and the problems that result from being overweight. And some pediatricians report seeing a significant increase in the number of children with elevated cholesterol levels than they did years ago.

Because the problems associated with high cholesterol generally don't show up for years, making the connection between kids' health and cholesterol is difficult for many people. So it's important to be aware of your child's cholesterol levels, especially if either parent has high cholesterol

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