Puppy fat in teenage years puts strain on heart
future heart disease, scientists have warned.
Fat appears to be linked to less elastic blood vessels, said the researchers in the 20 September issue of Circulation (vol 112, issue 12, pp1789-97).
The findings underscore the dangers of being overweight, which now affects an estimated 30 per cent of schoolchildren.
For the study, researchers used ultrasound to measure the elasticity of blood vessels in 471 children ages 13-15. There were 152 children in the study who had undergone similar evaluations when they were 9-11.
The study found that excess fat was even more strongly linked to stiffer blood vessels than cholesterol levels.
"The graded relation with increasing adiposity was stronger than that for cholesterol and was seen at body mass index levels well below those considered to represent 'obesity'," write the authors from London's St George's Hospital Medical School.
This emphasizes the importance of population-based strategies to control adiposity and its metabolic consequences in the young, they added.
The heart has to work harder to pump blood through stiff blood vessels, leaving a person more likely to develop high blood pressure.