Obese or overweight children may show early signs of heart conditions similar to those found in obese adults, according to studies conducted by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Overweight children may become obese adults and present a higher risk to suffer from high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes. The researchers collected data from almost 170 children with ages between ten and eighteen years old. The subjects had a cardiac ultrasound that showed their heart murmur, high blood cholesterol, acid reflux, or possible chest pains.
The study involved thirty-three obese participants, twenty overweight, and 115 normal-weight children. Researchers used imaging techniques that showed the activity of the heart`s muscular wall. The changes of the heart muscle motion were compared to the normal motion rate after they were averaged within each group.
In case of obese participants, the more the BMIA increases, the more alternation in the relaxation and contraction phase is noticed. The study`s results are possible help for pediatric cardiologists that need to monitor the children`s heart activity more closely. Previously, researchers believed that heart conditions are a result of longstanding obesity, but now it seems that they may appear sooner than they were expecting.
In case of teenagers, obesity may lead to the decrease of the myocardial performance and abnormal diastolic function. Experts believe that the changes may be reversible with weight loss. However, further research is needed in order to determine whether their beliefs are justified or how soon the heart changes are set once a child becomes obese.