An Australian study found evidence of stiff, thickened arteries in children who had been obese as toddlers. Researchers followed more than 1,800 children whose weight and height were checked every two years to determine their heart disease risk scores. At age 11 to 12, their blood pressure, blood vessel health, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels were also assessed.
Those who were obese or overweight as toddlers had evidence of stiffer arteries and thickened arterial lining, and were at high risk of developing metabolic syndrome later in life.
Metabolic syndrome is a group of heart disease risk factors that occur together. The signs of heart disease were worse the longer children were overweight or obese.
“Public health efforts are needed in the very early years to prevent problems with obesity and being overweight, to avoid the risk of adolescent and adult cardiovascular disease,” said study author Melissa Wake, from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia.
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