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Obese children may have poor heart health

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Blood pressure and cholesterol testing may be necessary for increasingly young children, as a team of researchers from Children's Hospital in British Columbia have found that obese children as young as 13 show signs of heart disease that were thought to only affect much older individuals.

Their findings, which were presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Conference, indicate that obese children can show signs of stiffening of the arteries before they even hit their teens. The condition may restrict the flow of oxygenated blood from the heart, and is associated in older individuals with an elevated risk of cardiovascular events and death.

The research team arrived at these findings after examining the heart health of 63 obese children and 55 who were at a healthy weight. The mean age of both groups was 13. The obese children were found to have significantly stiffer arteries.

"The normal aorta has elastic qualities that buffer the flow of blood. When that elasticity is lost, aortic stiffness results - a sign of developing cardiovascular disease," said Dr Kevin Harris, who led the investigation. "Aortic stiffness is associated with cardiovascular events and early death."

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