Advertisement

Can childhood obesity increase the risk for heart disease?

Marjorie Nolan Cohn
Nutrition & Dietetics

Obese children are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease (a disease traditionally thought of as an adult disease).

Obese adolescents are more likely to have prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes.
Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.

Long-term health effects for children:

  • Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. One study showed that children who became obese as early as age 2 were more likely to be obese as adults.
  • Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Continue Learning about Heart Disease

4 Go-To Resources for Diabetic Heart Disease Management
4 Go-To Resources for Diabetic Heart Disease Management
Diabetic heart disease (DHD) is a type of heart disease that affects those with types 1 and 2 diabetes. Lifestyle factors, like diet, activity and str...
Read More
When is an aortic dissection considered acute?
Murray H. Kwon, MDMurray H. Kwon, MD
An aortic dissection -- a tear that creates a separation of the layers of the aorta, which carries b...
More Answers
7 Drug-Free Ways To Treat Heart Disease
7 Drug-Free Ways To Treat Heart Disease7 Drug-Free Ways To Treat Heart Disease7 Drug-Free Ways To Treat Heart Disease7 Drug-Free Ways To Treat Heart Disease
Medication isn't the only way to get your heart healthy again. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in American adults and, if left untreated, ...
Start Slideshow
What Is the Most Critical Medical Issue Americans Face?
What Is the Most Critical Medical Issue Americans Face?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.