Over the past few years, obesity in children has been increasing rapidly due to the changes in lifestyle and added calorie imbalance. Additionally, some environmental, genetic and behavioral factors lead to childhood obesity thereby increasing the risk of heart diseases. New research work by Linyuan Jing of Geisinger Health System in Danville, has revealed that a young obese child of eight years alarmingly developed signs of heart disease. However, the researcher hopes that the effects are reversible without causing any permanent damage to the heart.
The research by Jing included MRI scans of 20 obese children and 20 children having normal weight with age ranging between 8 to 16 years. On careful examination, the team discovered that the left ventricle of obese children had twenty-seven percent extra muscle mass and overall thickness of the heart muscles was up to twelve percent. Both these conditions indicate developing heart impairment. Moreover, the scans revealed that children with thickened muscles had started showing signs of reduced blood pumping capacity and were at a higher risk of falling prey to heart diseases and cardiac strain.
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Dr. Gregg Fonarow, Cardiology Professor in University of California though not involved in the study directly, has suggested that these severe changes in muscle mass may lead to irregular heartbeat, heart failure and premature death of obese children. It is shocking that as per the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in the year 2012 one-third of children between 6 to 19 years were obese.
Obesity in children is increasing heart diseases and the results can be fatal. Furthermore, the findings are a message for parents to help their kids in maintaining a healthy weight by cutting down on fast food, limiting TV, video game time and simultaneously encouraging them to participate more in outdoor activities.