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 7 comments Comments 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%.