Obese Kids Have Middle-Aged Arteries

Scientists warn childhood obesity epidemic may lead to much shorter lifespans
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2008 4:19 AM CST
Children wait to have their waistlines measured at a base of the Aimin Slimming Centre in China.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Arteries of seriously overweight teenagers are as clogged as those of middle-aged people, according to US News & World Report. Researchers used ultrasound to measure the neck arteries of chubby kids at risk of heart trouble and were alarmed to find that their "vascular age" was an average of three decades higher than their real age.

The researchers, who presented their findings at an  American Heart Association conference, said the discovery was particularly troubling because an individual's vascular age is a better indication of life expectancy than actual age. They called for more research to be done to determine if the damage was irreversible or if it could be repaired with weight loss, exercise, and drugs to lower cholesterol.