ATLANTA — 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 blood pressure, normal cholesterol and no diabetes. So these results are not good, he said.
The study was released Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 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 bad cholesterol during the years it covered – 1999 through 2008.