If you thought heart disease was reserved for smokers over 45, think again.
A Dutch study shows that obese children, even as young as two-years-old, already have at least one risk factor for heart disease.
The research, published in the British Medical Journal, shows that two-thirds of obese children either have high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, low HDL (good) cholesterol, high total cholesterol, high triglycerides, high fasting blood glucose, Type 2 diabetes or a combination of risk factors.
This research comes on the heels of another alarming study that showed nearly one in four American teens have diabetes or pre-diabetes.
According to Health Canada, cardiovascular diseases kill more than 70,000 people per year in Canada. The risk factors for CV diseases include family history, smoking, lack of exercise, unhealthy eating, being overweight, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, stress’and most relevant to the current study, age.
Given that risk of heart disease increases with age (men over 45 and women over 55 are most at-risk) the fact that children as young as two are already experiencing risk factors is a scary sign.
The study’s researchers suggested that ‘guidelines for early detection and treatment of severe obesity and comorbidity are urgently needed.’
What do you think? Is early detection and treatment the key? What’s the best way to solve the childhood obesity epidemic?
-Katharine Watts, Associate Web Editor