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Vascular Changes Found in Obese Children, Study Says

September 28, 2004|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — Obese children as young as 7 already have the beginnings of artery disease, U.S. and Italian researchers reported Monday.

They found signs that the carotid arteries of 100 obese children were already becoming thick and stiff, as well as indications that the children might have a higher risk of diabetes. The carotid arteries carry blood to the head.

"You can see vascular changes already this early in really obese children," said Dr. Maurizio Trevisan of the University at Buffalo in New York, who led the study. The findings are reported in the October issue of Diabetes Care.

For their study, Trevisan and colleagues compared 100 overweight children ages 6 to 14 at a clinic in Naples, Italy, with 47 of normal weight.

On average, the obese children had higher insulin resistance -- a measure of tendency to diabetes -- than children of normal weight. They also had higher blood pressure and cholesterol.

An estimated 15% of U.S. children are overweight or obese, and children in many European countries are catching up.

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