Children's Upbringing Affects Heart Disease Risk
Lead researcher Sarah de Ferranti, MD, MPH, has attributed teens havingone or more risk factors for heart disease, such as bad cholesterol readings, toa lack of parental guidance. One study, reported in Circulation (October 12,2004), found that parents' actions before the birth of a child and through thechild's early years of life play a significant role in the child's risk of developingheart disease as an adult.
The current study looked at data on 1960 children (aged 12 to 19) gathered inthe Third National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey, conductedbetween 1988 and 1994. The results indicated that the most common risk factorwas a low level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, witnessed in 40% of theparticipants. Furthermore, about 30% had high triglyceride levels, and >30% hadwaist circumferences that met the definition of obesity. In general, 63.4% had oneor more risk factors. Almost 1 in 10 had what cardiologists refer to as "metabolicsyndrome"—3 or more major risk factors.
"The most surprising thing is that so many of them had at least one problem,"said Dr. de Ferranti. "Nine percent had 3 or more. These children are at high riskof future problems such as diabetes, heart disease, or stroke."