When you think of Sweden, you might think of Steig Larsson's books ("The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"), the music of ABBA ("Dancing Queen"), or the films of Ingmar Bergman ("The Seventh Seal").
Well, we think you should add the researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy in Gothenberg to that list. They've discovered a very important fact: How much you weigh as a teenager (they have records of 1,610,437 18-year-old males who were conscribed into military service between 1968 and 2005) is linked to your risk of heart failure in early middle age.
If a teen's BMI hits 25.1 (that's someone 5 feet, 8 inches tall who weighs 165 pounds), the risk of heart failure later in life triples. The kid's risk increases sixfold if his BMI hits 30 to 34; and it increases tenfold above a BMI of 35.
These findings are very bad news for American teens because more than one in five kids ages 12 to 19 are obese, and millions more are overweight.
Parents, schools, and communities need to make sure kids are taught healthful eating habits and have access to healthful school lunches. There needs to be a community commitment to providing all citizens with access to safe, convenient outdoor and indoor exercise facilities.
Left unchecked, heart failure will be teaming up with Type 2 diabetes (expected to affect millions of now-overweight kids) to create an endgame in which no one is a winner.
Posts by Dr. Mehmet Oz, M.D. and Dr. Mike Roizen, M.D.
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