Childhood Obesity Leads to Enlarged Heart

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Obese children grow up to have bigger left ventricles in their
hearts, putting them at risk for heart disease and high blood
pressure, according to a study of 467 adults under medical
observation since 1970.

The doctors who conducted the study said that simply being obese
means your heart has to work harder, even in childhood. The added
burden of high blood pressure and other related health problems
can actually contribute to a change in the structure of the
heart, they reported.

While the heart enlargement can be stopped and even reversed with
appropriate interventions, the data show a need to deal with
weight problems sooner in children.

About 9 million U.S. children over age 6 are considered obese,
according to the Institute of Medicine. The exact definition of
“obesity” in children is not as clear as it is for adults.
However, simple observation will give you a good clue as to
whether your child is overweight or obese.

Overweight or obese children have a higher risk of heart disease,
diabetes and other chronic health problems. If you have a child
who is overweight, please consult with one of our physicians so
that you will have an effective plan for dealing with his or her
overweight problems in a healthy way. We urge you not to delay or
overlook weight problems in your children. Their future health is
at stake.

Source: Circulation, November 30, 2004