Obesity and Heart Enlargement Among the Young

Published Online: Monday, April 1, 2002

According to the American Heart Association, obesity raises blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels while lowering high-density lipoprotein, the good cholesterol. Now a study by the Cincinnati Children?s Hospital has revealed another damaging effect?enlarged hearts. Of the 575 healthy women examined, 25% had the condition. Even more disturbing, 20% of the study participants were found to have left ventricular hypertrophy, an enlargement of the heart?s main pumping chamber that often leads to congestive heart failure. Most disturbing of all, however, is the fact that the average age of the group was 20 years old. Fortunately, evidence shows that ventricular hypertrophy can be stopped or reversed through diet or medication, but a dramatic weight loss is also necessary. Best bet: Counsel patients to not let kids become obese in the first place.

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