Obese Children
Friday, January 30, 2009

A study of children shows that obese and overweight kids have as much plaque built up in their arteries as 40 year olds. Dr. Edward Hill discusses the study in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

The blood vessels of obese youngsters age more rapidly than those of their normal-weight counterparts, raising their risk of developing heart disease at an earlier age, researchers report.

The study looked at 70 children and teens ages 6 to 19. They were all at high risk for future heart problems because they had high cholesterol levels and/or were obese, or because they had inherited a form of high cholesterol.

A high-tech ultrasound scan was used to measure the thickness of the inner walls of the carotid arteries that supply blood to the brain. Increasing carotid artery thickness indicates a buildup of plaque in the arteries that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

The childrenís average carotid inner wall thickness was 0.45 millimeters, which is typical of adults in their mid-40s. Some had carotid inner wall thickness readings as high as 0.75 millimeters.

Children with high triglyceride levels and who were obese were most likely to have advanced vascular ages.

This and other studies are beginning to demonstrate subtle, worrisome changes in the hearts and arteries of overweight children.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.