Obesity–and heart disease–start young these days

ChildhoodObesityIt’s pretty well established that childhood obesity can lead to a range of serious health problems later in life, but new research suggests the ill effects could have a much earlier impact than previously believed.

Researchers at Leipzig University in Germany studied a group of 61 overweight and obese youngsters ages 8 to 21. Compared with children of normal weight, the obese kids were found to have increased levels of triglycerides, higher total cholesterol, higher LDL (bad cholesterol) and lower HDL (good cholesterol)—and higher blood pressure.

Tests also detected a thickening in part of the heart muscle—the left ventricle—which in adults would be an indicator of impending cardiovascular disease. The researchers don’t know if the changes are reversible with weight loss, or how they may affect future cardiovascular disease.

But the physiological differences in heavy children were sufficiently alarming that they should provide “an incentive to change lifestyle,” the study concluded.

Even car crash test dummies have become a part of the American obesity epidemic! The fatter dummies have been created to address another alarming fact. Obese people have been found to be 78 percent more likely to die in a car crash.

Past dummies, as well as most curent ones, are modeled on a person weighing 167 pounds; the new prototype weighs 273 pounds.

According to Ecowatch, the AVERAGE weight of American men has risen from 167 to 194 pounds, and women now average the same weight (165) as men did in leaner, fitter times.

We are well aware that we are less active and consume too much junky food and drinks, but Ecowatch says there are several culprits contributing to health problems and obesity that may surprise us.

They include depression and depression drugs, artificial sweeteners, antibiotics, endocrine disruptors (chemicals that are used in everything from canned foods to microwave popcorn bags and cosmetics. Also, youngsters are extremely vulnerable to start ’em young marketing, with unhealthy food and poor lifestyle examples assaulting their senses via TV, parents and schools.

And then there’s the government duplicity engendered by its far too cozy relationships with international corporations focusing too much on profits and too little on health.

We’re on our own. If we’re up to it.

Sources: The Week, http://ecowatch.com


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