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Aortic stiffness seen in obese children

November 21, 2015

To see actual changes to the performance of the heart and blood vessels in obese children is extremely alarming, says Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson Dr. Beth Abramson.

"We know there is an association between unhealthy lifestyles and heart disease. Our kids are at risk," she says. "Poor nutrition and inactivity are threatening their health and well-being. We must rethink the lifestyle standards we have accepted as a society to protect the future health of our kids."

The rate of childhood obesity has tripled over the last 25 years and it continues to increase, warns Dr. Abramson. Over 25 per cent of Canadian children between the ages of two and 17 years are overweight or obese, with the percent increasing with age from 21 per cent among those two to five years to 29 per cent among those aged 12 to 17.

She notes that the health risks to overweight and obese children include heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Harris says the next step should be to determine whether these changes are reversible with treatment such as improved diet and exercise. This test may eventually be helpful in monitoring the progression of cardiovascular disease in children and young adults.

Source: Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada