More than 60 percent of overweight teens, and a third of normal-weight teens, already show at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
It is clear that the adolescent population of the United States is growing heavier. Overweight and obesity have reached epidemic proportions with an estimated 34 percent of US adolescents ages 12-19 measuring over the 85 percentile for weight between 2009-2010.
The health risks of excessive weight are well known in the adult population. They include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, joint disease, mental health problems and many others. Researchers are turning their attention to the potential problems which might develop in overweight or obese adolescents and how these may affect their adult health.
The heavier the teen, the more abnormal their cardiovascular risk profile, with 49 percent of the overweight and 61 percent of the obese adolescents showing one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
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Even though the symptoms of cardiovascular disease such as chest pain, shortness of breath, heart attacks and strokes usually don't occur until adulthood, physical changes that lead to adult heart disease may begin in childhood and adolescence and persist into the adult years.