Heart Risk Linked to Obesity—in Preschoolers

Definitive connection can't be made due to lack of relevant study
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2010 12:58 PM CST
Overweight children.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Levels of a marker tied to adult heart disease were twice as high in the blood of obese children as in the blood of average-weight kids in a recent study. The twist is that the research subjects were 3 to 5 years old, sparking concerns about the cumulative health effects of obesity. Researchers can't draw a direct connection between levels of the protein in children and heart ailments later in life, but one doctor says there is no reason to believe age makes a difference.

“We can't wait until they're adolescents or adults,” she tells the Wall Street Journal. C-reactive protein is related to inflammation, the immune system’s response to injury and disease. Thirteen percent of obese 3- to-5-year-olds had elevated levels, compared to 17% of the healthy population; overall, 14% of kids that age are overweight. Among teens 15 to 17, the instance of CRP elevation in obese subjects jumps to a whopping 60%.

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