High Cholesterol Puts Teens at Risk for Heart Disease
The dangers of obesity are not limited to adults. Children and teenagers in the United States are getting heavier, and they’re showing signs of the same obesity-related health complications that adults have been warned about.
Federal health officials recently reported that one out of every five U.S. teenagers has a cholesterol level that increases the risk of heart disease. A survey of blood tests showed that 20% of American teenagers have at least one abnormal level of fat, while 43% of obese teenagers had abnormal fat levels. Statistics about the effects of obesity on the health of teenagers are especially alarming in light of estimates that nearly one-third of kids are considered overweight or obese.
Linda Van Horn, a professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University, states, “These data really confirm the seriousness of our obesity epidemic. This really is an urgent call for health-care providers and families to take this issue seriously.”
Obese children and teenagers are at increased risk for diabetes and heart disease, both at a young age and as they get older. Experts are concerned that the overall health of the American population may be at risk. “People are worried that this generation is going to grow up to have more cardiovascular disease than the current generation,” says Denise Simons-Morton of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. “This problem is poised to negate all of the advances we’ve made in cardiovascular health.”
Experts urge physicians to monitor the cholesterol level of overweight and obese teenagers. They also call for parents and children to become more aware of and involved in the fight against obesity.