Effects Of Childhood Obesity Include Adult Prediabetes, Artery Damage

An analysis of data from 18 studies showed that damage to the body from childhood obesity increased the likelihood of pre-diabetes, and cardiovascular problems later in life.

Researchers at the University of Surrey looked at the body mass index (BMI), skin fold thickness, and waist circumference of more than 300,000 children. They compared the measurements with assessments done on the same individuals an average of 25 years later.

The study results indicated that obesity in childhood predisposed individuals to both pre-diabetes and a thickening of the arteries in adulthood. Pre-diabetes is frequently a precursor to type 2 diabetes, and artery thickening is a risk factor for heart disease. Childhood BMI was also an indicator for adult high blood pressure, another risk factor for cardiovascular conditions.

Since the 1970s, the percentage of kids with obesity in the U.S. has more than tripled. Approximately one out of five school-aged children is considered obese. Beside predisposing themselves to future health problems, children with obesity have increased chances of chronic health conditions such as asthma, sleep apnea, bone, and joint issues, plus early onset type 2 diabetes, or heart disease.

There are also lasting psychological effects associated with childhood obesity including low self-esteem, negative body image, anxiety, and depression.

“It is worrying that obesity is becoming endemic in our society,” said lead study author Martin Whyte, from the University of Surrey.” The adverse effects of adult obesity are well known but what we have found is that obesity in childhood can cause lasting arterial damage which could potentially lead to life threatening illness. This is something that we need to address to protect adult health…“

Sources: University of Surrey; CDC; American Heart Association
Photo credit: Gaulsstin

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