Noting that childhood obesity results in above-average blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and thicker-than-normal heart muscle, a study published in the British Medical Journal suggests kids with weight problems are 30 to 40 percent more likely to develop heart disease and screen positive on blood tests for type 2 diabetes.
After examining numerous studies, which included a total of almost 50,000 children between 5 and 15 years old, researchers from the University of Oxford determined that obese youngsters had much higher cholesterol levels and blood pressure than youths of average weight. They also note that fasting insulin levels, which could lead to affirmative diabetes blood tests, were substantially higher in obese children than in those who were only overweight.
"Weight, and especially obesity, has a significant effect on the risk parameters for cardiovascular disease that are present in children from age 5," write the study authors. "This effect could give them a head start on their normal and even overweight classmates for future cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke."
Reports show the U.K. is hardly exempt from the global obesity epidemic. According to British news source The Guardian, 33 percent of British 11-year-olds are considered obese.
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