Childhood Obesity – The Shape of Things To Come
In the largest study of its kind ever published, researchers concluded that obese children face a significantly higher risk of heart disease as adults.*
Examining the health records of 276,835 Danish children ages 7 to 13 born between 1930 and 1976, the investigators found that the greater the increase in the children’s weight, the higher the risk of heart attacks in later life.
This is sobering news for today’s U.S. children, who tend to be heavier than the kids in the Danish study, wrote leading child obesity researcher Dr. David Ludwig of Children’s Hospital in Boston in an accompanying editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine, entitled “Childhood Obesity – The Shape of Things To Come.” **
America’s child obesity epidemic, Dr. Ludwig warned, “is a looming crisis that requires action. Without effective intervention, the costs of obesity might well become catastrophic, arising not only from escalating medical expenses but also from diminished worker productivity.”
“Future economic losses could mean the difference between solvency and bankruptcy for Medicare, between expanding and shrinking health care coverage, and between investment in and neglect of our social infrastructure, with profound implications for our international competitiveness,” continued Dr. Ludwig. “The human costs would be incalculable.”
Taking Action Now
Though the federal government currently lacks a comprehensive strategy for encouraging children to eat a healthful diet and engage in physical activity, action in the private sector is promising. Intensive heart-healthy lifestyle-change programs, like the Pritikin Family Program held summers at the Pritikin Longevity Center, have documented superb results.
Kids’ LDL levels plummet 25%
In two weeks, research has found, overweight children in the Pritikin Family Program have decreased LDL bad cholesterol on average 25%, shed nine pounds, lowered triglyceride fats 39%, reduced key markers of inflammation, and increased the body’s production of nitric oxide, a very beneficial chemical that squelches plaque growth. ***
Pritikin Family Program – July 12 – 26, 2008
Now in its 7th year, the Pritikin Family Program has empowered children worldwide with the skills they need to grow into lean, healthy adults. And they and their parents have learned, much to their delight, how fun and doable healthy living can be.
* New England Journal of Medicine, 2007; 357: 2329.
** New England Journal of Medicine, 2007; 357: 2325.
*** Atherosclerosis, 2007; 191: 98.