Surprisingly or not, it seems heart diseases affecting obese children will become something common in the future. Obesity is an actual problem, as it has recorded a rise with more than 50% over the past three decades, and especially regarding children and teenagers. The fact that the United States receive quite a bad rap about obesity has also been a determining factor in finding out health implications this phenomenon has brought.
A recent study conducted by Dr. Jing in Kentucky on 40 children has come to a concerning conclusion. Heart image scans for 20 obese children and 20 with a normal weight were done and the results showed that the overweight children had thicker muscles. By comparing the two sets of images, the researches observed that the left heart ventricle of the obese children presented more muscle mass with 27%. This thickening of the heart muscles could lead to many problems in the functioning of the heart, such as heart failure, heart pressure or strokes. The conclusion is grim: the hearts of 40% of the obese children were considered high-risk, as their hearts could not properly pump blood.
The research took place at the Geisinger Health System, covering central Pennsylvania, while the findings were presented during the Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association this week in Orlando, FL. The association is funded through donations by organizations, corporations or foundations, but also by individuals. Charity events and special funding programs are also helpful.
Despite the results of the study, the most worrying part is that not all possibilities have been taken into consideration, as the test did not include children with diabetes or children who couldn’t simply fit inside the MRI machine. Dr. Jing also added that there is a big probability that even children younger than 8 years old have heart problems.
The matter of obesity in the ranks of children has been addressed in the United States through programs such as “Let’s Move” by Michelle Obama, or the National School Lunch Program. Another solution that could improve the outcomes of adolescents implies bariatric surgery. However, more measures must be taken in order to confront this disease of our times, as heart diseases affecting obese children will surely not be the only problems we will be facing.
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