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Childhood Obesity

Friday Edition – December 28, 2007 NEJM – 2007, Dec.

Childhood Obesity

Adolescent obesity increases future coronary heart disease risk

The effect of adolescent obesity on future adult heart disease risk has not been clearly established. In a recent publication, researchers estimated the prevalence of obese 35-year-olds in 2020 on the basis of adolescents overweight in 2000 and historical trends regarding overweight adolescents who become obese adults. A state-transition computer simulation was used to project the annual excess incidence and prevalence of heart disease, the total number of excess heart disease events, and excess deaths from both heart disease and other causes related to obesity from 2020 to 2035.

The number of overweight adolescents is projected to increase the prevalence of obese 35-year-olds in 2020 to a range of 30-37% in men and 34-44% in women. As a result of this increased obesity, an increase in the incidence of heart disease and related deaths is projected to occur in young adulthood. By 2035, it is estimated that the prevalence of heart disease will increase by a range of 5-16%, with more than 100,000 excess cases caused by the increased obesity.

Although projections 25 or more years into the future are subject to numerous uncertainties, based on current data it is a reasonable assumption that adolescent obesity will increase rates of heart disease among future young and middle-aged adults, resulting in substantial increases in disease and death rates.

Researchers concluded that aggressive treatment with currently available therapies to reverse obesity-related risk factors may reduce, but not entirely eliminate, the calculated increase in the number of heart disease events.

N Engl J Med. 2007 Dec 6;357(23):2371-9.

Dr. Eric’s Note: There is nothing new or shocking in this article, the Pan World Heart Disease Incidence Report showed a worldwide increase in heart disease with small pockets that showed decreased death rates, but ever rising incidence rates showing the continued lack of quality of life in heart disease sufferers. The point is that life has enough hurdles in it, if you are 30+ you already realize that. I have seen people who have gone through incredible difficulty and those who have had seemingly simple lives. The interesting thing is that it doesn’t matter, both people can perceive that life is hard. So if that is the case, then the last thing you need to do is add the stress of fighting obesity. You know what I mean, so do everything you can to educate your kids about the dangers of obesity, about the difficulty of coming from behind to beat it. Start this year out right, and remember that every choice you make in front of your kids, influences them in some way. Cut out the unnecessary calories, and think before you pop a pill to solve a problem, do you really want to teach your kids that popping pills to solve problems makes sense? You open the door for drug abuse with that mentality. God Bless, be safe as we approach the New Year!

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