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Many teens have cardiovascular risk factors

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Obese young people may benefit from cholesterol testing, as new research indicates that many of these individuals have severe cardiovascular risk factors that, if left untreated, could lead to major heart health problems later in life.

For the study, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed data collected as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1999 and 2008. The team looked at data for individuals between the ages of 12 and 18.

The results, which were published in the journal Pediatrics, showed that 22 percent of all young people had high or borderline high cholesterol during this period. The portion of obese children with unhealthy lipids was even greater. Additionally, 14 percent had high blood pressure. At least half of the nation's overweight or obese teens had at least one risk factor for heart disease. Some had multiple problems.

The researchers said the findings indicate that a large percentage of youths have risk factors for heart disease. If these are not addressed soon, many young people could develop serious cardiovascular conditions once they reach adulthood.

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