Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Overweight Girls Face Hefty Consequences

Overweight Girls Face Hefty Consequences

By Betsy Lievense, Ivanhoe Health Correspondent

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Overweight pre-teen girls are 10-times more likely to be overweight as adults and are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than their non-overweight counterparts, according to new research out of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The study also reveals the problem is more predominant in black populations.

The overweight girls who participated in the NHLBI study had higher percentages of body fat than their average-weight counterparts. Overweight 9- to 12-year-old girls also had higher blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and fasting-insulin levels, which study authors write means heavy girls stand a greater chance of developing heart disease.

Researchers advise parents to take preventive measures well before girls enter adolescence.

"What consistently shows up in obese children is large portion sizes, eating out at fast food restaurants, caloric soft drinks, and lack of physical activity," Research Nutritionist Eva Obarzanek, Ph.D., told Ivanhoe.

Dr. Obarzanek said parents can fight childhood obesity by establishing healthy eating patterns and by encouraging kids to engage in physical activities. She also advises parents to keep an eye on the overall fat content of the food they feed their children and says to limit soft drink intake. Portion control is another important factor. Dr. Obarzanek advises parents who are unsure about whether or not their child is overweight to consult a body mass index (BMI) chart or their family doctor.

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SOURCE: Ivanhoe interview with Eva Obarzanek, Ph.D., from the Maryland Medical Research Institute in Baltimore; The Journal of Pediatrics, 2007;150:18-25

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